Wednesday, June 15, 2005



Selwyn Pleads

Tim Selwyn has plead guilty to a charge of "conspiracy to commit criminal damage" relating to the axe-attack on the Prime Minister's electorate office last year. He will be sentenced next month. However, he is still contesting the sedition charges relating to the pamphlets found near the scene of the attack.

This at least makes it a nice, clear-cut freedom of speech issue: should the government be able to restrict speech that is highly critical of it (and even advocates violence), or not? And IMHO, it is a fight Selwyn can win. In the wake of the flag-burning decision, I can't imagine the sedition law not being similarly "read down".

Of course, I'd rather the government repealed the whole thing. But maybe we'll have to wait for Selwyn to win in court for that to happen.

1 comments:

Thanks I/S.

Yes, the issue is now very clear cut. I've saved them some time, resources and hassle over the conspiracy intentional damage charge, so everything else, ie. sedition, is completely unneccessary as I see it. It is punitive, pointless and political. The ball is in their court, but they seem quite intent on pursuing it.

I am going to trial on sedition alone. Some of the sorts of evidence they have to try to prove seditious intention is literally comical. The jury is going to have to be critics of cartoons and satire from the Crown stuff I've seen. It won't take much for them to turn this into a circus. Where's their case law and precedents going to come from? Zimbabwe? Cuba? Ex-NZ PMs?

Sedition seems very easy to prove if you look at the Crimes Act. But if I get convicted of sedition then who will be next? The pylon protesters? Any protester who ever printed a leaflet, made a speech or appealed to individuals to use their own conscience in what they should do to oppose anti-constitutional actions of the governement?

If it constituted incitement then I could be charged with incitement - but it's not, and they are not charging me with that. So what exactly would a jury consider to be sedition, given that it is less than incitement?

I consider the Crown's position to be unjust, unwise, embarrassing and ultimately will be untenable.

There are several possible lines of defence and if people want to draw my attention to some more, or their theories, please feel free to do so.

Posted by t selwyn : 6/15/2005 11:48:00 PM