Monday, September 12, 2011

Its official

Firearms charges against 13 of the Urewera 18 defendants were formally dropped this afternoon. And there's good news on another front as well:

The court also earlier heard that the remaining four will have their case decided by a jury, rather than a judge alone.

[Crown prosecutor Ross] Burns said now that the case only involved four accused, the Crown was no longer seeking to have the trial heard by a Judge alone.

This will take a few more days, since they have to unravel the Supreme Court case, but its great news. The right to trial by jury is absolutely fundamental, and a vital check on state power in cases like this. A judge-alone trial simply would not have produced a credible verdict, which would be a Bad Thing no matter where you stand on the case.