Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dispatches from Day 7 - Operation 8 depositions hearing

The police have been harassing defendants since the beginning of the depositiosn hearing. In the previous week the police have followed defendants into the toilets and making comments, and kicking the backs of defendants’ seats. But today the harassment was taken up another notch.

I was sitting in court, trying to keep awake when a supporter came up and whispered something I didn’t catch. But it was clear something had happened.

Before I got outside I heard one of the women who had come to support the defendants on the megaphone, talking about how a pakeha man had twice punched one of the wahine there, but she had been arrested.

I saw Bonnie, the partner of Watene one of the defendants, with her hands cuffed behind her back. I told the police she was breastfeeding a four month old baby, and they didn’t care. The police barely let her thirteen year old daughter talk to her mother.

It was up to the Auckland Central Police Station to wait for them to be released. The Wellington district police station only has one entrance, and criminals and citizens (as the police categorise them) come to the same front counter. But the Auckland Central Police Station makes the police’s views of the world more clear: there is the main entrance, but anyone who knows someone who has been arrested goes down to the basement to wait on stainless steel benches.

Watene had been arrested by a plain clothes police officer for supposedly scratching Aaron Pascoe’s car. The car had definitely been scratched, but there were several witnesses who saw the car scratched before Watene even got out of court. On top of that the only thing the Watene had in his hand was a sausage roll, which has limited potential as a way to wilfully damage a car (fear of food appears to be a recurring theme in this case – first avacadoes, and now sausage rolls).

Bonnie was twice elbowed in the head by police before being arrested for obstruction. It took almost two hours for her to be bailed. The police wouldn’t let a lawyer take her four month old baby into Auckland Central police station to be breast fed during this time.

Watene was not bailed from the police station, but taken back to court, where the crown opposed bail, on truly spurious grounds. After a tense afternoon, with hearings in both court rooms the judge granted bail at ten to five.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:23 pm

    Maybe she should have thought about her baby before engaging in disorderly conduct with a megaphone.

    If she really is guilty there are numerous CCTV around the court to back up her story.