Time for Police to uphold the law

Stuff reports:

It has been the subject of legal wrangling for seven years but, despite a court order, nobody seems to know what to do about the body of James Takamore.

The Christchurch man died in 2007, and his family spirited his body away against the wishes of partner Denise Clarke and buried it at Kutarere Marae, near Opotiki, in the Bay of Plenty.

In 2012 the Supreme Court ruled in Clarke’s favour, but last month an attempt to disinter the body backfired after angry protesters blocked funeral directors and police from the cemetery.

The Dominion Post can reveal the case has now been passed to the office of the solicitor-general for it to figure out the next step.

The family have had seven years to obey the law. They are not above the law. The Supreme  Court has ruled on this issue. The Police have tried the low key approach, and the family have rejected that. The only way left is for the Police to again go in to allow the body to be moved, and to arrest anyone who tries to interfere.

Tuhoe spokesman Tamati Kruger said police storming on to private land to dig up the body would be the worst-case scenario.

He knew the family well and understood the rift that had formed between them and Clarke and her children was upsetting.

“They’re very, very unhappy about the breakdown in the relationship between them, Denise and the children, and welcome anything that may go towards repairing the relationship.”

However, the Crown had no place in Maori tikanga and should back away to give the family time to sort through the problem itself.

“The worst-case scenario is nobody will talk with each other and . . . we have the police invading a private cemetery and taking away James’ body.”

With respect they’ve had seven years, and two years since the final court ruling. The family have had lots of time to sort through it. If the Police have to use force, it is entirely the family’s fault.

Comments (57)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: