He Hōaka has written an amazing post about justice and Operation 8.
In his keynote address to the Māori criminal justice colloquium in 2008, Moana Jackson described justice as a systemGo read her whole postwhich helps us deal with wrong by re-enforcing what is right, which helps us deal with hurt by dealing with those who are hurt, by helping us deal with injustice by re-defining what is injustice and what is just in our terms.Such a system is focused on avoiding and putting right social harm. It is a definition which makes sense to me.
If we use this definition to look at what happened on and since October 15, 2007, it is clear that one party is responsible for social harm (eg, from the Herald). On October 15, police smashed their way into houses around the country, and attempted to terrify everyone they found—shouting, pointing guns, holding people captive. They blockaded an entire community, stopping and searching cars, photographing occupants, all at gun point. All of this was indiscriminate, children and adults were targeted. Around 20 people were taken and held for a month. Since then, police have harassed those who were arrested, through the courts with ridiculous bail restrictions, and also on the streets. Governments have allowed and defended this behaviour; for example, Helen Clark used the media to say those arrested were guilty before charges had even been laid ( PM: activists trained to use napalm), while John Key “says there is no need for an inquiry into how police and the Crown handled the Te Urewera raids case” (Te Urewera trial cost). As recently as three weeks ago, while the Operation 8 trial was in the news, the police were still harassing the people of Ruātoki (Residents terrorised after police raid wrong house), and were lucky not to seriously hurt anyone.
Of all the evidence that was presented in the media and in court, culled from hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence collected, there is only one example of anyone other than the Crown causing harm to others (Apology followed shots). Four and a half years of harassment and vilification of those arrested, their whānau, the residents of Ruātoki, and Ngāi Tūhoe in general, does nothing to fix that harm.
I think I'm going to wait until it's really all over (probably sentencing on May the 24th) to say anything more. I'm not sure if I even have anything more to say (I stole the title of this post from a friend's facebook post)- it's been a long four and a half years (and six days).