New Zealand Courts Deny Basic Right of a Trial by Jury!

Judge-only trial for Urewera 18

The Urewera 18, arrested in the 2007 "terror raids", will be tried by judge-alone rather than by a jury. Chief High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann made the ruling on December 9 but suppressed the judgment. Arguments from lawyers succeeded in having the suppression lifted and it can now be revealed that three of the accused - Maraki Teepa, Tekaumarua Wharepouri and Raunatiri Hunt - will be tried separately, though the reason for that decision remains suppressed. The Urewera 18, which includes activist Tame Iti, were arrested following police raids in 2007. Terrorism charges were rejected by the Solicitor-General and the group now faces mainly firearms charges. The 12-week trial is set down for August.