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Police tell Urewera trial of hearing gunfire in bush

Published: 5:52AM Wednesday February 15, 2012 Source: ONE News

Members of the elite police squad have told of hearing gunfire and commands in the bush as the Crown reveals more details of its case against the "Urewera Four".
Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and Emily Bailey face a dozen firearms charges as well as participating in an organised criminal group.

It is alleged they were involved in military style training camps, assembling a self-described revolutionary army.
The four were being watched in the bushes, unaware they were being filmed. The Police Special Tactics Group had planted the devices, then hid and listened.

ONE News cannot name or show members of the Special Tactics Group but today the jury were told about volleys of gunfire they heard.

One member said: "Could hear somebody yelling out, for instance, 'bang, bang, bang, bang' simulating firing a weapon at one stage, commands like 'fall out, fall out, go, go, go'.

"I gauged the shots as coming from a 762 calibre weapon. The shots continued for about one hour. I could also hear what sounded like a suppressed weapon being fired."

Under cross examination, the defence questioned just how the Special Tactics Group knew exactly which weapons were being used when they could only hear, and not see, what was going on.

The filming of the so-called training camps has again taken centre stage at the trial, with defence lawyers quick to question just what the jury has been shown.

"Camera's certainly don't capture the totality of what is occurring," said Jeremy Bioletti, defence lawyer.

Detective Inspector Geoff Jago replied that there was certainly other activity that was occurring that was out of sight of the cameras.

And police were pushed as to why they hid more cameras as the operation, dubbed Operation Eight, unfolded.

"We had seen the activity of the molotov cocktails being thrown at the stove and we could see where we believed persons were assembling," Jago said.

The Crown has more than 80 witnesses left to call.