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By Steven | November 3, 2008

It was always possible that further charges were to be laid against some of the Urewera defendants, and here they are: participation in an organised criminal group.

Must say, though, I feel some disquiet about the adding of these broad-based charges (as opposed to the more specific Arms Act ones) after the High Court has narrowly found that the Fairfax coverage did not create a real risk of prejudice to the defendants’ trials – in part because:

there is nothing before us to suggest that there is any real risk that any defence available to the accused is likely to be compromised by the publication of the intercepted communications.

As I’ve discussed, that’s not really true. The judges were wrong to say that “the focus of any defence is likely to be on identification”. But even if it were true with respect to the Arms Act charges – it seems hard to believe that the published material from the intercepted communications won’t affect the defence of someone charged with participation in an organised criminal group.

Topics: Contempt of Court | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Overcharged?”

  1. ross Says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 12:11 pm


    Haven’t you previously argued that the trials are so far away from the time that the material was published that juries will not be able to be influenced? Are you now saying that publication may cause a probem with respect to the administration of justice? If so, what has caused you to change your position (assuming you have)?

  2. Steven Says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    When have I argued that? I’ve identified it as an argument, I think, that’s all.


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