The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill will potentially apply primarily to cannabis cases as the court already has the ability to use covert video evidence in serious drug cases, Aotearoa
Legalise Cannabis Party leader and Wellington lawyer Michael Applebysays.
Although the Supreme Court decision prompting the new law was based on the Urewera trial, John Key has said the decision affected "serious crimes" including drug offences.
However many legal experts including the Chief Human Rights Commissioner have testified that “serious criminals” can already be prosecuted using covert surveillance under section 30 of the Evidence Act.
Just as Tame Iti is still being prosecuted as a participant of an organised criminal group, even though the evidence was thrown out by the Supreme Court in most other Urewera cases.
“Therefore this urgent retrospective law change is potentially actually going to affect non-serious cases, including many of the 250 people arrested in Operation Lime,” Mr Appleby said.
In May 2010 Police concluded a two year “National Covert Operation” called Operation Lime targeting garden shops including Switched on Gardener, with the aim to ‘break the backbone of the cannabis industry’.
“In light of the recent findings of the NZ Law Commission and UN Global Commission on Drugs, cannabis charges could fail to meet the threshold for seriousness under the Evidence Act.”
“In addition, the Bill of Rights may have been violated when customers went to these shops for legitimate reasons and were filmed by surveillance cameras.”
“Since ACT leader, Dr. Don Brash, is a supporter of cannabis law reform, the Act Party should oppose this bill when voted on under urgency next week,” Mr Appleby said.
The ALCP are also supporting United Future candidate Ian Gaskin (Wigram) who in a letter in yesterday’s Press has called for a liberal alliance of parties in support of Dr Brash's views on cannabis.