Friday, January 07, 2011

The Herald wakes up

Two weeks after the news broke that the Urewera 18 have been denied a jury trial, our self-described "newspaper of record", the New Zealand Herald, has deigned to mention it:

Most of the 18 people charged after the Urewera "terror" raids have been denied a jury trial.

Fifteen of the group, who are facing firearms charges stemming from police raids in 2007, will be tried before a judge alone when their case goes ahead in August.

Suppression has been lifted on the decision, after the Crown argued that it was in the public interest to know the sort of trial the 18 defendants would go through.

Human rights activists have decried the ruling, saying the high-profile, controversial case should be decided by a jury of peers.

The news was unsuppressed on December 21, and has been blogged by various people (including me) over the holiday break. But the Herald's lawyers were all on holiday, so they didn't dare say anything about it until they were sure about the exact limits placed by the suppression order.

Now its out there in the media, the debate can begin: do you think it is right that people in a hugely political case are being denied the right to a jury trial? And do you think this will result in the public accepting the verdict? Send your answers to the Herald's letters page.