Friday, 14 Dec 2007
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Starship doctor slams police terror raids

By MICHAEL FIELD - Fairfax Media | Friday, 14 December 2007
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RAIDS SLAMMED: Professor Innes Asher says the police terrorism raids were one of the worst examples of child abuse by authority figures.

MICHAEL FIELD/ Fairfax Media

TAKING ACTION: Lawyer Peter Williams QC has announced he will sue police for their part in the anti-terrorism raids on October 15.

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One of the country's top paediatricians has slammed the police terrorism raids as one of the worst examples ever seen of child abuse by authority figures.
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Auckland University's Professor Innes Asher, who is also a specialist at Starship Children's Hospital, spoke out at a press conference called by lawyer Peter Williams QC to announce he will sue police for their actions on October 15.

Police raided the Tuhoe township of Ruatoki using the Terrorism Act. The Solicitor General later refused to allow prosecutions under that act.

Black clad and armed police sealed the town and held dozens of people.

Professor Asher said the event was "particularly traumatic" for the children and would last throughout their lives unless something was done to heal the damage.

If the children did not get that they would remain damaged and frightened for the rest of their lives.

"I believe it is profoundly important that there is some healing started by the police towards those children who were frightened and traumatised by their appearance and their behaviour," she said.

The police appearance was unprecedented.

"It was a very traumatic thing for any New Zealander to see, but to see it in your intimate spaces... this is a very frightening appearance."

Children had been shocked at this "profoundly ghastly thing".

"This will go down in history as the most terribly abuse, by authority of figures, against New Zealand children.

"It's the most profound abuse of power in our memory, in the century."

Mr Williams told the press conference that Police Commissioner Howard Broad had not responded to a letter from him and the Te Kotahi a Tuhoe seeking a meeting and reconciliation.

As a result he was now preparing writs to sue the police in the High Court in Rotorua.

He would not seek specific amounts of money, leaving the court to determine it.


Click here to listen to lawyer Peter Williams talk about Tuhoe suing the police.

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