Monday, May 28, 2012

No one is smelling of roses.

So the Urewera 4 got sentenced last week. 2 1/2 years for Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara for the firearms charges, possible home detention for the other two. The reactions are an odd thing. The police offered an apology for the way they went about things (not for actually doing the raids, just how they did the raids) which was imho, waaaay way yo late. The whole affair on their part regardless of whether the charges were warranted or not looks, from the outside, like a complete balls up.
I'm not particularly happy with the defenders of the Urewera 4 though either.  The general impression that I get is that there is a belief that from the get go, this was just a massive sting against Iti et al and no punishment is justified. And that, I find hard to accept. There is a point they bring up that is of concern though. From reading Morgan's piece, I get the impression that the sentences imposed on Iti and Kemara are the maximum possible sentence and as such, are to harsh. It would be interesting to compare their sentences with other sentences for other similar firearms charges. If there is major differences, then yeah, the judiciary isn't going to come out of this smelling like roses. I'm not sure what mitigating factors there are though. I'm not sure that saying they've always run around in the bush playing with guns is one that I'm comfortable with.

Which brings me to the Urewera 4 themselves. I'm sorry, but from what little evidence I've seen (and I acknowledge that it is only a little), at best a bunch of idiots. Seriously, running around the bush with guns practising commando tactics? I'm sorry, but the instant you pick up a gun with political action in mind, you are either an idiot, a soldier or someone worth investigating. The three are not mutually exclusive.
No one comes out of this looking good. Not the police, not the defendants, not the defenders of the defenders nor the defenders of the police. And the judiciary deserves a good hard looking at as well. Quite disgusted with the lot of them I am.

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