Article – Annemarie Thorby
Prosecution concluded their case on Tuesday with cross examination of the officer in charge of the day to day running of Operation 8, Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe.Urewera 4 Trial: Day 15, March 6th
by Annemarie Thorby
Prosecution concluded their case on Tuesday with cross examination of the officer in charge of the day to day running of Operation 8, Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe.
Cross-examination of Pascoe had begun Monday and was over by lunchtime Tuesday. Defence will begin their case at 10am Wednesday, 7th March.
Tame Iti’s Long History
Russell Fairbrother began the morning by continuing his cross-examination of Pascoe.
His first question was whether Pascoe accepted that Rama also meant ‘to find your way’.
Pascoe replied that he was ‘not going to say that was not correct, but he didn’t have any specific knowledge or memory that that was one of the meanings’.
Fairbrother then asked Pascoe if he had been aware of John Key’s trip to te Urewera in August 2007.
Tame Iti was one of the hosts and the location was on a remote Marae, ‘so remote there was no cell-phone coverage’, and that he ‘went in without a police escort’.
Pascoe said he was aware of that at the time.
Fairbrother asked if ‘John Key was not troubled in any way?’ Pascoe replied, ‘not that he was aware of’.
The next questions were regarding Tame Iti’s ‘long history’.
Fairbrother listed many activities Tame Iti had been involved with, including the 1975 Tent Embassy at Parliament, his involvement with trade unions, the 1980s occupation of Taiarahia to protest the planting of pine trees on the mountain, the 1988 road block in Taneatua to talk to motorists about the Treaty, and that Tame Iti had talked to politicians.
Pascoe was not aware of that, but he was ‘possibly’ aware that Tame Iti had in the 1990s had talked to then senior National minister Doug Graham about the fiscal envelope. He was not aware that during the discussion Tame Iti had erected a ladder and climbed it, and then handed a blanket to Doug Graham.
Fairbrother also asked Pascoe if he was aware that Tame Iti had been involved in the occupation of Moutoa Gardens, also known as Pakaitore, in Whanganui. Fairbrother described it as quite a militant action that was a stand-off for many months.
Pascoe said that he ‘did not recall that’ but ‘had read about it in the media’.
Fairbrother said that the result was that ‘the Gardens were given back to the Maori people’.
He also asked about the march on to land at the Lake Waikeremoana Motor Camp. Pascoe did not know about that, nor did he recall that Tame Iti was involved with CORSO.
He was aware however, that Tame Iti had travelled to the US ‘to meet native American people’ and he was also aware that Tame Iti had travelled to Fiji in 2000.
Fairbrother said it was ‘an unofficial delegation to bring peace and harmony there’. Pascoe said he ‘knew Tame Iti went there but didn’t recall the reason’.
He knew that Tame Iti had been to China. He was also aware that ‘since his arrest, Tame Iti had travelled around Europe performing in the play Tempest’.
Fairbrother described the Tempest as ‘a play of oppression, courage and truth’.
Pascoe said, ‘that may be the way it’s described, but not the way he recalled it’.
He did know that Tame Iti worked with ‘health’ and during the Operation had worked at the Mission House hauora at Taneatua.
Pascoe confirmed that Tame Iti was arrested at 6am at his house in Whakatane and that he was in police custody until he went to court in the afternoon.
Fairbrother then asked Pascoe what he understood by the term Mana Motuhake o Aotearoa. Pascoe replied that ‘it is about self-determination for Tuhoe people’.
He said that he ‘could not say how it (Mana Motuhake) had progressed during the operation’ and he could not recall that after the raids there was a celebration in the grand hall of Parliament involving the then PM, Helen Clark, and Tame Iti was there. Tame Iti had hongiied the officials there.
He did not recall if his police job-sheet ‘noted issues about the tiaha that Tame took to the hall’.
Fairbrother said that ‘in July last year the current Attorney General signed a protocol, an accord with Tuhoe where the Crown recognises and acknowledges Mana Motuhake o Tuhoe’.
Pascoe said he ‘may have seen that at the time, but didn’t specifically recall it’.
Returning to the question about how Mana Motuhake had progressed during the time since Operation 8, Fairbrother said ‘what has happened…is a movement of Tuhoe protesting about past injustices to the recognition of Tuhoe’s independence and potential sovereignty in the Urewera area’.
Pascoe replied that, ‘based on what you said, there has been some development in that area, but he did not know’.
Fairbrother then read from a report about the ‘disjunction between te Urewera people and Pakeha perspective’.
Pascoe said that ‘the police investigation was about people possessing firearms and Molotovs for an unlawful purpose, that the history of Tuhoe was not part of the investigation’.
However, he did say that he had ‘done some reading of the history of the Tuhoe region’.
Fairbrother then asked if he had been ‘asked about placing the roadblock on the Confiscation Line?’
Pascoe said, ‘I think the road block was not on the Confiscation Line’. He said that ‘the Confiscation Line was painted’
Fairbrother then asked him at ‘what point did his knowledge about Tuhoe change’.
Pascoe said that ‘at the start of the investigation it was hard to articulate what his knowledge about Tuhoe was’, but he has ‘significantly more knowledge now’.
Finally, Fairbrother asked if Pascoe was ‘aware of the Beatles’ and ‘their song Revolution?’ Pascoe said he was, but ‘Don’t ask me to sing it’.
Pascoe accepted that ‘revolution’ in the song meant ‘change to the constitution by peaceful means.’
On that note Fairbrother ended his cross-examination.
‘Fighting for the NZ Government’
Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara’s lawyer, Jeremy Bioletti, began his cross-examination of Pascoe by asking about a series of photos in one of the evidence booklets relating to Tame Iti.
The photos were of a tangi. In some of the pictures Kemara could be seen carrying a rifle. He was ‘wearing camouflage pants, a sort of camouflage pouch attached to a military style belt and gumboots’.
There were a number of people carrying guns at the tangi.
Pascoe said that, ‘he did not specifically recall where the photos had been taken’. He did agree that there were ‘quite a number of people present’.
Bioletti then asked about Tuhoe Lambert, Tuhoe Lambert was one of the original people charged with ‘Participation in an Organised Criminal Group’ but died last in July last year.
Bioletti asked about Tuhoe Lambert’s military service, and Pascoe said that he did one tour in Vietnam and one in Malaysia. When Bioletti asked whom he was fighting for, Pascoe said NZ.
Bioletti then asked, ‘fighting for the NZ government?’ ‘Absolutely,’ said Pascoe.
Pascoe could not recall doing any enquiries ‘into Tuhoe Lambert’s employment in NZ post his military service’.
Pascoe did ‘not recall’ if he had worked in the mental health area. He also was ‘not aware if he had worked as a body guard after his active service’. He had not looked into Tuhoe Lambert’s personality and reputation.
Bioletti then asked about evidence Pascoe had given yesterday. He said, ‘from the point of view in your case, it does not matter what Rama means?’
Pascoe said, ‘Yes , it’s a code word for the camps…used in relation to when the camps occurred….When looking at it translated literally, it does not make much sense but when viewed as a codeword it does makes sense.’
‘So it means fishing by torch light,’ asked Fairbrother.
Pascoe then went on to say that ‘after seeing the videos of people going to Rama, he knew that Rama was not fishing’.
He accepted that ‘Rama could be a specific type of Waananga’ but said that he thought ‘it was about learning about firearms and Molotovs’.
‘And VIP protection?’ asked Bioletti.
‘Only in the October camp’ said Pascoe. He said he ‘accepted what the military expert had said in evidence’, on day 10 of the trial.
When asked how ‘training for VIP protection fit in to training for urban warfare’ he replied that ‘VIP protection could be also snatching the VIP’. He said ‘there had been a lot of training: contact drills, training drills, for example.’
Pascoe said he accepted that, ‘to get to a level to undertake VIP protection training you have to learn a lot of basic skills’.
Bioletti then asked if he accepted that ‘Rama could relate to a specific type of teaching?’
Pascoe then re-read quotes from the chat logs about the ‘Revolutionary Military Wing of Aotearoa’ and ‘mahi in Africa’ and that ‘there was a TO (training officer)’.
Bioletti then asked about the new TO.
Pascoe agreed that he was seen in the video showing the activity around the Pathfinder vehicle. He also accepted that there was another vehicle there as he had seen a section of the boot lid in the video.
Pascoe said he accepted that ‘before that particular training the vehicles were put in that particular formation’.
When Bioletti said ‘before 10’, Pascoe answered quickly, ‘I believe it was at 9.02’.
Christopher Stevenson, Urs Signer’s lawyer, then asked Pascoe about his knowledge of Tuhoe.
Pascoe said, ‘Compared to the average person in NZ I have a reasonable knowledge about Tuhoe.’
Pascoe said Detective Inspector Bruce Good was in charge of Operation 8. He then agreed however, that it was he, himself, who was ‘in charge of the day to day running of the Operation’ and ‘in charge of driving the operation through to court’.
Stevenson asked when ‘did it come apparent to you during the inquiry, before the raids, that the police should have a good knowledge of Te Urewera and Tuhoe and the background issues…or did you think it was largely irrelevant?’
‘If you are asking about planning for the termination, there were local police involved,’ said Pascoe. He said that ‘there was an element of consultation with all the local police, but he was not privy to all. But there was a local knowledge component.’
He said he had ‘been all way into Ruatoki only once.’
That was in 2007, he ‘met the local police officer and they drove to the Whetu Road scene and he also talked to the Iwi liaison officer.’
Stevenson then asked if Pascoe had heard about Rua Kenana and what happened in 1916.
Pascoe confirmed that he had and he knew about it before he got the warrants. He was also aware that there had been an apology from the Police Commissioner over what had occurred.
Pascoe said that they ‘wanted to charge him with sedition’ and he was aware that Rua Kenana’s son had been shot and killed.
He was not aware however that ‘in the book ‘Encircled Lands’ it is said he was shot in the back like a dog’.
Stevenson once more asked if Pascoe knew that ‘the 2001 Police commissioner had apologised for what had happened in 1916’.
Stevenson then said that, ‘in this case, we haven’t heard much from police involved in termination.’
Pascoe agreed that there were a lot involved, including the Armed Offenders Squad (AOS), the Special Investigation Group (SIG) and the Special Tactics Group (STG).
Pascoe did not know how many police were involved in termination in Ruatoki.
Stevenson then asked about ‘the hand signals we heard from the military expert’.
Pascoe agreed that ‘absolutely, we can get that sort of thing off the internet’.
Pascoe also agreed that ‘we can also see on U-Tube people in New Zealand dressed in camouflage or black running around with paint-ball guns’.
He was then asked about installation of the cameras and Pascoe said he had ‘not been up there, on the track and had a wander around’. He was also asked about the cameras on Reed Road.
January was the busiest month for the Reed Road cameras.
On the track video for January he confirmed that one clip shows ‘up to 30 people’ with ‘either six or eight firearms’ and some ‘sticks’. He also saw someone dressed in yellow and agreed that ‘that person was not well camouflaged then’.
On the June video there were about nine people and on the September video ‘about a dozen people’.
When asked about the October camp, he said ‘but remember the other camp in the other location’.
Stevenson said, ‘that is your theory’.
Pascoe then explained why he thought there was another camp.
Stevenson asked, ‘so there was a discussion over a split, because someone was coming from Iraq?’
When Pascoe confirmed that, Stevenson then asked, ‘and you know this as being part of the SIG, monitoring people?’
Pascoe then said, ‘When you say monitoring people, we do not, we only looked at them in relation to this Operation’.
Stevenson then asked if ‘the police theory was that Urs Signer became aware of a person from Iraq coming so removed himself from the camp and went to another location?’
Pascoe said, ‘Yes’.
In a question about who had briefed Howard Broad, the Police Commissioner at the time, Pascoe said he believed it was Bruce Good.
Stevenson then asked about the role of the Police Commissioner, saying that he is ‘more than just a figurehead, he’s well involved, quite fully briefed’.
Pascoe agreed, ‘as Broad said in the press conference, he authorised the search warrants’.
‘But he also said there was no suggestion that any action would be taken by this group,’ said Stevenson.
Stevenson then asked another question about the SIG. There was an objection and the court went into Chambers and then we broke for morning tea.
Briefly Looked At
After morning tea, Stevenson asked about video footage of the September camp and the Officer presenting it, saying ‘in one point he claims to identify Urs Signer passing a Molotov to one of the girls’.
‘I have briefly looked at that passage of evidence,’ said Pascoe.
Stevenson wanted to know if the officer ‘had identified that previously to giving evidence?’
‘No,’ Pascoe said, ‘I picked it up in looking at evidence for the trial and showed it to him.’
Stevenson wanted to know if that was disclosed and Pascoe replied that the defence had the footage.
Pascoe said, ‘there are are hundreds, thousands bits seen in the footage’.
He said, ‘how you watch it and watch it and watch it and see more.’
He explained that ‘the monitors (police charged with monitoring the tapes) had not picked up on the fact that it was Signer’.
Stevenson asked if he had picked it up ‘on the 6th viewing’.
‘No,’ said Pascoe, ‘I watched that dozens and dozens of times, some of the same small bits of footage watched numerous times’ until he saw it.
Pascoe confirmed that the video was not enhanced, that it was ‘only put on DVD so it was easier for the jury to watch’.
There were then questions about the speed of the footage and the pixilation. Pascoe said the footage at this camp was ‘one frame per second’ and that there was a low level of pixilation.
He accepted that ‘the image of the handing over of the Molotov was taken from 30feet away’. And ‘the object purported to be a Molotov takes only a small section’ and it made up 2% of the screen.
Pascoe said, ‘I agree it’s a fleeting shot of just the white cloth, but part of my assessment that it’s a Molotov is that she then runs down the track but you can’t see what she’s holding in her hand. Her body blocks the view of what I believe to be a Molotov’.
When Pascoe said, ‘…it’s the actions of the person who he hands it to, that makes me believe it is a Molotov’, Stevenson said, ‘So based on context?’
‘And from image, I see the white cloth hanging out, but only one white flash’ said Pascoe.
Stevenson then asked if Pascoe accepted that in April and June, Urs Signer was out of the country.
Stevenson said he accepted that Signer was present in January and September but that for October it is circumstantial evidence that he was there’.
Stevenson then asked further questions about who was responsible for the compilation of the evidence books and Pascoe confirmed that he was responsible for ‘what goes in’.
He also asked questions about a photo taken in March 2007 of Signer and Tame Iti together in Wellington.
Stevenson then asked ‘how long was Signer under police surveillance? What was the starting date?’
‘It would be clear from my notes, if I looked at the book I could know.’
Stevenson told there was no need and gave a piece of paper to Pascoe which he said was ‘a police document that records intelligence notes in relation to Signer going back to 2005’.
Pascoe agreed that ‘as far as this inquiry is concerned, he was only under surveillance from 2006’. He also agreed that Signer had only one conviction and that was for obstruction in 2006.
He pointed out that ‘the late Tuhoe Lambert, near 60 at the time of this inquiry, also had no criminal convictions.’
Pascoe could not recall.
There was a brief discussion about Tuhoe Lambert and then Stevenson asked about the address in Ruatoki where Signer had ‘stayed in the outhouse’.
Pascoe said that he knew that another person had pled guilty a week after the raids to possession of the ammunition found there.
When asked if it was ‘found in the house?, he replied ‘most in the locked cupboard with the gun cleaning equipment that had Bailey’s fingerprints on it.’
Pascoe agreed that there was forest and bush nearby to the house.
When asked, ‘did it become obvious that in this area nearly every house has firearms, used for hunting kai?’ Pascoe said he could ‘not comment on the average number of arms in houses in that area’.
Pascoe confirmed that in that particular house a scanner had been found, he also added that scanning frequencies were there as well.
He agreed that ‘those things are easily purchased’ and he accepted that ‘The Commando Manual’ is easily purchased as ‘it is a published book’.
Stevenson then returned to questions about the SIG. He agreed that the SIG was established post 9/11. He said ‘in 2004, maybe even late 2003’.
Pascoe said he was ‘not involved in the establishment of SIG’.
He disagreed with the statement that the SIG was ‘monitoring and infiltrating political protest groups’.
He agreed that the SIG have offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
When asked if ‘the Wellington group has been heavily involved in monitoring and spying on protest groups’, Pascoe said that he ‘can’t say before Operation 8, but during Operation 8 the SIG was trying to monitor people’ in relation to the investigation. He said that, ‘we went for example, to Waitangi to see who associated with Tame Iti.’
Stevenson asked if Pascoe was ‘saying that he did not generally know that prior to Operation 8 the SIG were surveilling protesters.’
Pascoe said he could not say that, he could only say ‘as part of this Operation’.
In regard to questions about the role of the SIG, Pascoe said that it is not only about intelligence but ‘also investigation, and community out-reach.’
He said ‘the whole of the NZ police is about intelligence as well.’ He explained that ‘every general front-line officer would put information in the system so intelligence can be used’.
Stevenson then confirmed with Pascoe that he knew Peter Gilroy.
Pascoe denied that they ‘shared information about informants’ or ‘information derived from informants’.
But in answer to further questions, Pascoe said, that ‘it is obvious that if there is an informant, then that information is shared somewhere along the line’.
Stevenson then asked if Pascoe knew of Rob Gilchrist, he reminded Pascoe that his ‘colleague yesterday referred to him as whistle-blower’.
Pascoe said he was not prepared to talk about it, however he was instructed by the judge that he could answer the question.
Stevenson said ‘it was in the media at the time that Gilchrist was found out by his girlfriend after she found evidence on his computer’.
Stevenson wanted to know if the staff at Auckland SIG had talked about it. He said ‘this must have gone around the office’.
‘We may have discussed it over one morning tea,’ said Pascoe.
When asked if the informant’s ‘code-name was Balaclava’, Pascoe said that he ‘did not know’ and that he was ‘not comfortable to talk about this’.
Stevenson then asked if Pascoe was ‘aware that Gilchrist was selling camouflage gear and scanners to protest groups.’
Pascoe said ‘No’.
Stevenson then showed Pascoe ‘a body of an email’ written by ‘PG4369’.
When asked if it was ‘a police number’, Pascoe said, ‘yes, generally’.
Pascoe then confirmed that it was an email from Peter Gilroy (his counterpart in Christchurch SIG).
The email was an ‘intel request from the police’…’Groups included the Auckland Animal Action, Vegan Balaclava pixies, and some named individuals’.
Pascoe accepted that it was an email sent to Gilchrist.
He said, ‘it wouldn’t surprise him’ if ‘Gilchrist came up as number in the phone numbers during this inquiry’.
Stevenson said that the number came up in relation to Signer.
When asked about ‘running training’ that Gilchrist was doing, Pascoe said he had ‘no idea.’
Stevenson then asked if ‘does this jog your memory’ and began to read an email written by Gilchrist to various activists.
There was an objection and Stevenson gave the email to Pascoe. Pascoe said he had ‘never seen that document before’.
Stevenson then asked, ‘do you accept it appears to be an email from Balaclava about running training camps?’
Prosecution objected and the question was not answered.
Stevenson then returned to Rua Kenana and said to Pascoe that ‘after the longest running trial in NZ he was acquitted’.
Pascoe said, he had ‘read about it but could not remember details’.
Thermite Recipe Returned
Finally it was the turn of Emily Bailey’s lawyer, Val Nisbet, to cross-examine Pascoe.
Nisbet wanted to know ‘what makes the SIG special?’
‘I didn’t name the group. That was the name we were given,’ said Pascoe.
Pascoe went onto explain that the SIG does not ‘deal with the normal crimes, they don’t do normal day to day policing but they do have a community focus’.
Nisbet asked ‘you gather facts not opinions?’
‘We gather facts.’
‘You produce facts in a fair and factual manner to the court?’
Nisbet then asked if Pascoe knew all the evidence.
Pascoe said no and explained that ‘for example, for 50 items recovered and when staff say only ten are relevant, then I would only look at those ten. In some cases I may have seen something in a photo and wanted to examine it further but certainly not every evidence.’
Nisbet then asked Pascoe to look at the evidence book which contained the ‘so-called thermite bomb recipe’. (The recipe was found during the arrest of a person on October 15th 2007, but that person has had all charges against them dismissed).
Pascoe agreed that the document was a reasonably important part of the crown case.
Pascoe then was asked about the evidence booklet, and said had put it together. He was then asked to look at particular photos and was questioned about where the recipe had been found.
Pascoe said that he did not ‘uplift the recipe’ but confirmed that he had seen the original.
Nisbet asked if he had returned the recipe on the request of the formerly accused person.
Pascoe said ‘no, at the conclusion of depositions.’
‘So you didn’t think at the time it was important enough to retain?’
Pascoe explained that ‘at the time it was returned, it was not relevant to the Arms Act charges that everyone faced at the time’.
He explained that it only became significant ‘with different charges being laid’.
Nisbet then showed him the original document and asked about ‘the holes along the top of it, so it has been in a notebook’.
Pascoe agreed that it had been in a notebook and Nisbet said ‘I have the notebook here’.
Pascoe did not recall seeing the notebook before but agreed that it appeared the piece of paper could have come from the notebook.
Nisbet then said, ‘We don’t know how long Bailey had that notebook, it could have been sitting where the police found it for years.’
Finally, when asked if Emily Bailey had any previous convictions, Pascoe said, that he ‘was not specifically aware of any convictions’.
Ross Burns chose to re-examine Pascoe and asked about the alleged splitting of the October Rama camp.
Pascoe read from the chat logs the evidence that supported the theory.
Burns also had questions about the ‘scenario document’ and the returning of the thermite recipe.
That was the end of the prosecution case.
Chambers in the Afternoon
Just before the lunch break it was decided that the Court would sit in Chambers in the afternoon and the jury was sent home early.
Court was therefore adjourned for the public until 10am Wednesday, 7th March.