The Court of Appeal has dismissed the Urewera four’s appeal against their convictions and sentences.
In today’s decision, Justices Mark O’Regan, Ellen France and Terence Arnold have agreed with High Court Justice Rodney Hansen’s earlier ruling and labelled it a “generous one”.
Lawyers for Urs Signer, Emily Bailey, veteran activist Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara took the appeal in August, three months after Justice Hansen’s ruling.
At the time, Signer and Bailey received a sentence of nine months’ home detention on firearms possession charges while Iti and Kemara were each sentenced to two and a half years in prison on the same charges.
In today’s ruling Justices O’Regan, France and Arnold agreed with Justice Hansen’s reasoning in the following passage:
“The question of whether the four of you participated in a criminal group, which had as its objective the commission of serious crimes of violence, is quite distinct from the issue of why you acquired the firearms and deployed them at the camps.
“Your intention in that latter sense is highly relevant to an assessment of your culpability and there is sufficient evidence on that issue to satisfy me to the standard of beyond reasonable doubt.”
They also suggested Justice Hansen’s approach had been “generous”.
“Accordingly, we consider it was open to the judge to reach the factual findings he did. Once that point is accepted, there can be no real argument that the sentences imposed were within range.
“Indeed, there is force in the Crown submission that in giving credit for the appellants’ altruistic motivation, the approach taken was generous.”