Stephen Franks blogs:
It's a good day for New Zealand. Justice Hansen sentencing the Urewera four was having none of what he called their “utterly implausible” excuses. Well done, police and prosecutors.
But a wider dividend goes well past the four. So called “peace activists” will not rest easier tonight. Their cover is permanently blown by the terrorism evidence even though it could not be used. They know the police know who they are and what they mean by “peace”.
Yes, I personally look forward to the next time Valerie Morse goes on about peace. She may not have been convicted of anything, but the sheer hypocrisy of preaching peace, and running around the bush practicing how to shoot people and use molotov cocktails means she'll never be taken seriously again.
Even if our “terrorists” were more “Dad's Army” than Baader Meinhof or Red Brigades, some at least could have become more dangerous. Training camps sift out a hard core from the wannabes. Standard terrorist modus operandi is to process lots of amiable recruits and naive fellow travellers, searching for that nugget – the person willing to kill and be killed for the cause. Being inept is not being innocuous.
Yes, they were the equivalent of Dad's Army.
There is no moral victory for the offenders and their dupes. Refusing to account for yourself, whilst having your lawyers put forward hilarious explanations of innocence and fighting strenuously to suppress contrary evidence is not a heroic stance.
If the best argument was that they were training to be security guards in Iraq, I'd hate to see the even more implausible arguments they rejected as a defence.
And race had nothing to do with it. Dozens of armed police stormed Dotcom's castle. Sobered by the jan molenaar police killing and siege, it is time to drop the nonsense about Tuhoe being singled out for overbearing treatment.
And worth remembering a total of 18 firearms were found on the raids – far more than Mr Dotcom had.