Under the heading More thoughts on the Iti verdict, David Farrar blogs:
Many on the left were expressing outrage yesterday at the 30 month sentence given to two of the Urerewa defendants for their illegal firearms convictions. Their view seemed to be that so long as Iti’s band didn’t actually kill anyone, then it was a minor offence not worthy of jail time.
A comment by the Judge got me wondering. The Judge commented that the context of the convictions was that Iti had effectively formed a militia. He also wryly noted that the defence contention that they were training to be security guards in Iraq was somewhat undermined by Iti’s rather portly condition.
Anyway I wondered what the reaction would have been if the activists were not a bunch of radical leftists, but instead was Kyle Chapman and a bunch of white supremacists. Imagine if Kyle and his “right wing resistance” loons had spent months stockpiling military-style weapons and molotov cocktails, and practicing how to use them. Also that Police recordings had them openly talking of killing the Prime Minister and other people in Government if their agenda was not agreed to.
I have a feeling that the very same people expressing outrage at the 30 month sentence for Iti, would be praising it, if the group had been Chapman and the neo-nazis.
DPF draws an interesting and thought-provoking analogy. Iti and Chapman are extremists, at the opposite end of the political spectrum. But Iti and his co-defendants have been found guilty under New Zealand law, convicted and sentenced. They will doubtless exercise their right of appeal, and there's a fair chance that the taxpayer will fund their appeals.
Elements of the Left seem happy to defend the offending of the Urewera Four as legitimate because it was "for the cause", whereas they would denounce such behaviour from the Right.
And yesterday afternoon, critics were quick to play the race card, suggesting that Iti and Kemara got harsher sentences than Urs Signer and Emily Bailey because they were Maori, and even because they had full facial moko. That is an absolute nonsense; if any of those critics had bothered to do a cursory check, they would find that her full name is Emily Felicity Tuhi-Ao Bailey, and that she that her father's iwi was from Parihaka.
Lastly, have a look at this video interview of Police Commissioner Peter Marshall, as he backgrounds the raids of 15 October 2007, initiated under the leadership of his predecessor Howard Broad:
As Marshall states in his opening, this was a "serious criminal investigation", and that it was "not aimed at any iwi whatsoever". History will not judge the police especially kindly, having failed to gather intelligence by legal means, resulting in a number of those arrested escaping trial. But there was undoubtably criminal activity in them thar hills, and it is for that criminal activity that Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara have been imprisoned.