|Holy SHIT!! WTF just happened??|
Iti, Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey were found guilty of unlawful possession of military-style firearms and Molotov cocktails at training camps in the Urewera Ranges in 2006/2007. Iti and Kemara were jailed; the sentencing of Signer and Bailey was adjourned but home detention's likely. Justice Hansen said their intent was serious: "A private militia was being established.... a frightening prospect in our society, undermining of our democratic institutions and anathema to our way of life."
A Ngati Manawa statement said the sentences were out of all proportion to the offences committed. It claimed "sustained mainstream spin, hype and emotion ad nauseum" painted Iti and Kemara as anti-society with villainous and destructive intent. Wait for it...wait for it...aaaaaaaaaand...play the race card! "All it does is confirm that Maori are not treated impartially by the justice system and that bias and prejudice are alive, well and kicking."
So what did they really expect? That because Iti and Kemara have brown skin and facial markings, they get off??? If, after all the damning evidence, they walked free, that would show serious favouritism. By the legal system running its course (for better or worse), that is impartiality.
After the sentencing, National Business Review wrote about Iti's Plan B, which would have been adopted if Plan A (peaceful negotiation with the govt by Tuhoe, to get what Tuhoe wants) failed. Iti himself described his group as a revolutionary military wing of Aotearoa and referred to training to smash the system, while Kemara spoke of training to kill "because we will probably have to".
The judge pointed out that a crime committed for a noble ideal is as much a crime, as a criminal act done for a base motive. He also made it crystal clear that any damage done to the local community as a result of the police operation was the responsibility of the prisoners and "should not divert attention from the unlawful activities which necessitated the investigation in the first place". In other words, stop the screaming about poor ol' maori being victims because they're maori!!! It simply didn't happen!
But of course, appeals will be forthcoming. Don't ask me why though: $6m of legal proceedings surely can't be wrong...unless of course you lean towards the bro side, in which case it's all a racial conspiracy. Bzzzzzt! Wrong! There is no racial bias in law.
You are what you are. Innocent or guilty.
End of story. My sentences now finish. Let their sentences begin...
PS: 16 July 2012 - Tuhoe activists denied bail while appeals are heard.