Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sedition in the news

Today's Herald piece on "President Clark" has this little bit about the Tim Selwyn case:

More seriously, there are issues about to how the police play out their role in relation to the Prime Minister, and that of other citizens, particularly the judiciary.

Take the charge of "seditious conspiracy" which police filed against Timothy Selwyn, the activist who put an axe through Clark's Auckland electorate office. The charge - which basically means orchestrating a "rebellion against the state" through exciting disaffection against the Government - has not been laid since the early 1900s.

Police said Selwyn's attack was a pakeha protest at the Government's attempts to steal Maori land through legislation.

But constitutional lawyers believe the police may have over-egged the situation.

They say Selwyn could have a strong defence of free speech under the Bill of Rights Act.

The implication being that the sedition charges are the result of the police's desperation to please the PM. This is probably correct, though as long as police records of the case remain secret, we'll never know for sure.