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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Another get out of jail free card?

14 June 2018

Nicky Hager has quite rightly received an award of "substantial damages" against police for the "unlawful" raid on his home back in October 2014.

Hang on, aren't NZers getting sick and tired of what seems like an endless stream of "unlawful" actions on the part of police?

The 2007 Urewera Raids, the unlawful spying on NZ residents and citizens, the raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion, the raid on Nicky Hager's home... when will it stop?

Well guess what... it won't stop. We can expect to see more of these "unlawful" actions on the part of police for the foreseeable future.

How can I be so certain?

Simple... nobody, but NOBODY is being held to account for these *ILLEGAL* acts.

Note that I did not use the word "unlawful" because that is a cop-out (no pun intended).

If a law is broken then an illegal act, a crime in fact, has been committed. To simply rename it "unlawful" because the law was broken by an agent or agents of the state is unacceptable. Surely, those in whom we vest extraordinary powers over the general populace have an even greater duty of compliance with the laws than we, the public do. Therefore, when any of these "trusted" and privileged agents choose to break the laws under which they must operate, they deserve punishment of an even greater magnitude than would be applied to the general populace.

Yet no... that is exactly not what we get.

Laws are broken with impunity and those responsible are excused because the crime is simply dismissed as an "unlawful act".

Outrageous!

And this is why we will continue to see these crimes committed by agents of the state on a regular basis. Why would they stop when there is no penalty involved when they choose to break the law?

The sad thing is that although it was the police who broke the law in the case of Nicky Hager, it is the general population of New Zealand who are being penalised for those actions.

How?

Well where do you think the money comes from to pay those "substantial damages"?

Out of taxpayers' pockets of course -- so we lose twice!

First of all it is clearly demonstrated that there is no accountability for those who choose to break the law whilst operating under the protection of being an agent of the state, then we discover that we must pay for their sins out of our own pockets.

Ah... but surely this money would come from the police's existing budget so no extra money would come out of taxpayers' pockets... right?

If true, that is even worse... because it means that due to the illegal action of employees of the state, we now have less resource available to chase other criminals who would steal our stuff, assault us or rape our women.

I'm sorry but this situation has to be addressed and addressed quickly.

How many more Kiwis must suffer at the hands of a lawless bunch who have effectively been given total indemnity by the government when they choose to break the laws under which they are supposed to operate?

Indeed, what is the point of those laws and their intention to protect the people, if those bound by them are not bound by them at all?

To be honest, I'm surprised that people aren't marching in the street over this... it is a huge injustice which makes a total mockery of any claims that this country has a robust legal framework to protect its citizens from the excesses of the state.

Or perhaps I'm just over-reacting.

What do you think?

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