Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dispatches from Court Day 2 - Operation 8 deposition hearing

One of the things I didn’t explain properly yesterday was why the charges take so long to read. The charges are almost all jointly possessing firearms, between certain dates. On some dates each defendant who is charged on that date is charged with possessing the same half dozen firearms. Each time a charge is read the names of all the people who are being co-charged are listed. So the same list of names is repeated over and over again, in some cases over 100 times (and then again in Te Reo).

The only court business that happened on Tuesday was the reading of 7 more people’s charges. Four of those charges were also read in Te Reo Maori. By the end of the day the names, dates, and legalese had all slipped together into a strange drone, both in English and in Maori. There was some suggestion that the 24 year old Swiss Musician might want his charges read in his language, and people suggested his language was Swedish, Spanish and German (If they were going to be read in his language, it would be Swiss German, but they were just read in English).

At a time this boring, anything that happens seems fascinating. One defendent made a huge performance of his charges being read. He moved forward and looked over the shoulder of one of the media and noticed that she was playing solitaire. Not that I blame her.

The judge doesn’t notice much, but is very intolerant of what he does notice. Yesterday, when people finished having their charges read the audience applauded. The first two times the judge didn’t notice, but the third time he said that he wouldn’t tolerate the barracking and threatened to clear the court.

One defendant had not appeared yesterday, and when he was finally called the judge talked as if not putting the defendant back in jail was the most generous act he had taken all year, and then made insulting comments.

The police continue to sit in the back of court and harass the defendants who sit in front of them. The cops kick the back of the seats of the defendants, as if they were school kids.

Yesterday a 'drop the charges' leaflet somehow found its way inside the locked box by the court room which lists what's being heard that day. The security guards must have removed it, but today a tino rangtiratanga sticker had been stuck on the same box (and has yet to be removed)

On Wednesday the last lot of charges will be read, then the lawyers will argue about media and bail, then finally Aaron Pascoe will take the stand.

1 comment:

  1. You've been in my thoughts all day. I love hearing about this kind of resistance: "today a tino rangatiratanga sticker had been stuck on the same box (and has yet to be removed" - thanks for posting x