6 Mar 2012

Court told code word used for Te Urewera camps

10:43 pm on 6 March 2012

A detective who investigated alleged military-style camps in Te Urewera National Park says a code word was used by participants to describe the meetings.

Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey are charged with participating in an organised crime group and firearm offences in relation to police raids in the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Wellington in 2007.

All accused pleaded not guilty when the trial began at the Auckland High Court in February.

Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe, the final witness appearing for the Crown, told the court on Tuesday that the word rama was used by Mr Iti and other people to describe camps held in 2007.

He said the literal translation of rama is fishing by torchlight - a phrase which made sense when linked with illicit camps.

Asked if rama could mean wananga, Mr Pascoe said only if it was a wananga of weapons and Molotov cocktail training.

The defence questioned the quality of video footage taken by police investigating the alleged military-style training camps.

The Crown says undercover video footage shows people running past the camera holding Molotov cocktails.

That was challenged in court by a defence lawyer, who said the footage was taken from a distance at only one frame per second and was pixellated.

The lawyer asked Mr Pascoe whether the object in the video could be credibly identified.

Mr Pascoe said he believed it could. "I couldn't say with 100 percent certainty that it's a Molotov cocktail, but I believe, based on all of the evidence, that I'm reasonably certain it is a Molotov cocktail."

The Crown concluded its case on Tuesday afternoon.

The defence is set to present its first witness on Wednesday.