Saturday, June 10, 2006


As many readers will know, blogger Tim Selwyn has been found guilty of sedition, namely publising a statement with seditious intent. He's in esteemed company, former Labour leaders Peter Fraser and Walter Nash were also convicted for sedition.

After an axe was embedded in Helen Clark's electoral office window in 2004, Selwyn called for people to take "like minded action" by means as a flier designed as a press release. His actions were in protest to the Governments Foreshore and Seabed legislation, and his flier was published by the media.

Sedition is defined as "speech, writing or behaviour intended to encourage rebellion or resistance against the government". Well, that was the very reason the Maori Party was formed, to encourage resistance against the Government. Selwyn was found to have made a seditious statement for inciting "violence, lawlessness, or disorder".

Its a fine line. Selwyn had no intention of overthrowing the Government or to incite disorder - not nearly as much as the Motua Gardens occupation or the 1950 Waterside strike. He didn't incite anyone to do a specific crime, he was charged because the axe attack was politically motivated and a political crime. Thats all. Our laws are outdated

Green MP Keith Locke agrees and has called for a review of sedition laws, stating "next thing we might see farmers facing charges for encouraging others not to get their dogs micro-chipped".

Or, he didn't add, we might see Christian lobby groups facing charges for encouraging parents to smack their children in defiance of our Government if section 59 of the Crimes Act is repealed.

I understand Selwyn is appealling the decision under the Bill of Rights, which gives him rights to "impart information and opinions in any kind or form".

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