The trial of the Urewera Four is made all the more fascinating by the on/off appearances in the saga of one Jamie Beattie Lockett who was described in the Herald on Sunday on Oct 21st 2007 as a ‘self-styled activist’ when he was arrested on fire arms charges after the Urewera raids.
This is the same Jamie Lockett whose fire arms charged were dropped in October 2008 and who was arrested again last October for trying to take a weapon into court. And the same Jamie Lockett who the NZ Herald in October 2003 described as a 'self-described hard man' and as the 'former "minder"' of one Mark Lyons.
Seems that you just can’t keep a good activist/hardman/minder down.
Lockett the hard man claimed to have been beaten up while in prison in 2003 and interestingly Lockett the activist also claimed to have been beaten up in Mount Eden after his firearms arrest. We await to hear if he gets beaten up again while on remand for trying to sneak a bit of rope with a metal ball on one end into court.
Photos of Lockett the activist in court after the Urewera arrest, peering over the top of his reading glasses made him look rather more like a slightly bemused school teacher, than a hard nosed minder/mercenary.
Police allegations that Lockett the activist claimed to be 'a vicious, dangerous commando' who is 'declaring war on this country', and who said that 'white men are going to die in this country' were used to justify denying him bail.
Those statements seemed highly dramatic at the time and in light of his subsequent discharge on the firearms charges, they clearly entered the realms of the wildly melodramatic.
A Melbourne acquaintance, in an e-mail to ACT party member's Trevor Loudon's blog, said of Lockett, "Over the years Jamie has used his size and body strength as a business tool for many business ventures which a vast number of society dont know or understand. Including that of debt collecting and tracing people who "skip out" of making financial payments for debts owed. He later beacame a body guard and "minder" as is referred too for high profile business people who for reasons of there own find the need for personal protection." (Original spelling and grammar)
The question that fascinates me is, why was Lockett the activitst / hard man / minder in the Ureweras? Was it for ideological, personal or financial reasons - or a mixture of all three?
How someone like Lockett ended up in the mists of the Ureweras with someone like Tame Iti, is as compelling an area of speculation as how such a vicious, dangerous commando kept getting duffed up in prison.
So, is he a real and serious threat to NZ's internal security, or a Walter Mittyish man approaching late middle age who was variously a body guard, debt collector and self-styled enforcer who found a niche for himself in indigenous politics? Or his just an anti-police exhibitionist - and do I really care?
I must say, it does rather spice up the Urewera affair, especially if we bring Lockett's former boss into the picture.
NOT that I'm suggesting Mark Lyon, bless his silk socks, had anything to do with the Urewera affair but, when researching Lockett the activist/debt collector/minder, I was reminded of this playboy, drug user and general all-round waste of space.
This product of privilege in 2003 pleaded not guilty in the Auckland District Court on explosives, arms and drugs offences. He also denied assaulting a policeman, threatening to kill a policeman, theft, dangerous driving and assault.
In February 2004, Justice Phil Recordon warned Lyon it was his last chance to avoid jail when sentencing him for unlawfully possessing weapons. Despite Lyon's history and the prosecution's request for a jail term, the Judge refused to send him to prison and instead sentenced him to 280 hours of community service.
If the community service was as arduous as the time he spent in the Cook Islands 'resting' while on bail, Lyon wouldn’t have had a hard time of it.
Lyon had previously been fined for exporting drugs, using threatening language, possessing drugs utensils, driving offences and refusing to supply a blood sample. He'd been supported in previous legal battles by his father, prominent retired businessman and former Watties chief, Cliff Lyon.
You could be forgiven for asking what more Lyon Jnr needed to do to get jail time. If I was a cynic I'd think that being poor and / or brown would probably have done the trick.
Meanwhile back in 2012 I hope that we are all watching the trial of the ‘enemies within’ with great interest.