Saturday, September 17, 2011

Justice Rant 2.0

One of my most valued possessions is an original Hansard of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The staples are a bit rusty, but it doesn't take much to hold what is essentially two pieces of yellowing A4 paper with words on it together.

This gossamer document is Joe Bloggs and Aroha Hapuka's only plain New Zilind armour to defend them against the full weight of the state machinery. You are free to come and go. You are free to choose your Tao, even ones not listed in the Department of Statistics little religion boxes. You are free from unreasonable search and seizure. You have a right to a trial by one's peers if the state threatens to lock you up.

It only takes a simple majority in Parliament to rip those words asunder. There is no love lost between me and the cold dark blue heart of this National government and its idea of justice. The right to silence is safe, for now. Simon Power couldn't muster more than a bare majority for that erosion of BoRA, relying on three kamikaze Act MPs tempted to cross the floor.

My heart has hardened to the Labour Party after they supported Simon Power's substantive changes in the Criminal Procedures Reform Bill, raising the jury threshold from three months to two years. The stench of Helen Clark remains on them with last Labour's government eroding BoRA their own way, with the Criminal Recovery Act fiddling with double jeopardy and unreasonable search and seizure. Then there was the daft and dangerous Electoral Finance Act that throttled the freedom of expression during the last election.

I'm not relying on the next Labour caucus to protect the citizens of this country from National when the re-write of the Search and Surveillance Bill is introduced to parliament properly. John Pagani thinks Greg O'Connor is spot on with his stance that police should be above the law:
Too many people have been far too quick ignore the seriousness of what's at stake here. Just imagine if the variety of ethnic nationalism at issue was the type preached by the Norwegian monster.
Pagani sounds like he disagreed with the Norwegian  political response, which was that they weren't going to over-react and curtail civil freedoms due to a single fanatical nutjob.  Pagani is pointedly disagreeing with the majority decision of the Supreme Court as well. Witness the arsenal at hand:
The Crown have listed the guns which they allege the group had. They include a sawn off shot gun, a Lee Enfield .303, a rifle, a sawn off rifle and four other rifles.
My old man would have still outgunned them. Former part-time Army guy Jan Molenaar could have outgunned them. There's no doubt that the resources available to the police would have outgunned them. The town of Ruatoki got a taste of force multipliers available to the police a few years ago, with not so much as an apology pending.

But that's getting a bit too close to sub judice right now. I'll wait until next year's trial to dig into that further.

Pagani agrees with O'Connor that their illegal practices of video surveillance should be made legal. The argument this tilts on is fundamental to human rights. O'Connor spilled it on Checkpoint last night:
"We always believed that if it wasn't illegal, if it was for a normal member of the public, if something's not illegal, you're essentially allowed to do it."
Police are not normal members of the public. They are state servants. They are armed with a formidable range of tools well beyond the reach of a normal member of the public. No normal member of the public can harass someone quite so comprehensively as the police. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act is the public's only protection from this brotherhood of cops.

Greg O'Connor would be a happy man if BoRA was repealed tomorrow. His men could follow their gut instincts, fantasies and grudges with impunity, without the restraint of reason or balance of natural justice. Both of the main political parties are happy to dismantle the Bill of Rights Act, one word at a time. So, it's good to have a Supreme Court that can balance out the scales of justice a little.

No normal member of the public has such voluble PR or political access as police mouth Greg O'Connor. No-one challenges him when he spouts rubbish, such as that Checkpoint interview when he sez that the video surveillance decision will affect rape and murder inquiries. Most surveillance is on alleged crime conspiracies such as unarmed dope growers or wingnut circus militias on private land in the wop wops. Mainly the former.

Only the police can sex up a cannabis raid as seizing "$10 million worth of tinnies" and skite about how much property they have stolen with a straight face. I know people who have had their banks accounts trawled and personal belongings seized as arrest warrants are served for cannabis offences. It's a shakedown, plain a simple.

Only the police would argue to change the law to suit their illegal habits, yet stymie any de-escalation in the War on Drugs. If only the police are given more tools! more tools! then they will win this destructive civil war on our people. Somehow, the police will manage to arrest the 400,000 New Zealanders who used cannabis last year. Somehow, the nation's treatment services will get all these reasonable, rational members of the public to forsake cannabis and convert to more mainstream therapies such as alcohol, rugby or Jesus.

Thank Dagg for the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The rats from National and Labour might gnaw away at it, but these two pieces of paper still protect me from the vanilla people and their narrow diet. Whatever my thoughts on Tame Iti's Flightless Circus, I thank them for the precedent that will make the police think twice before perving on their eccentric neighbours.