Billy McKee Found Guilty
The cops called it Operation Relief – targeting Billy McKee for helping sick people who need cannabis. An undercover slimeball who’s name has been removed due to a complaint under the privacy act, so we’ll call him Officer “Fuck-you”* contacted Billy through the Green Cross website. He pretended to suffer from severe migraines. Billy had a family member who had severe migraines and eventually died from a brain tumor – so he was genuinely concerned about Officer “Fuck-you”* and wanted to help him.
As a result of trying to provide help to someone he believed to be a genuine medical cannabis user, Billy was convicted of supplying and cultivating cannabis – another injustice of prohibition to add to a list that is already far too long.
Supporters gather in front of Palmerston North courthouse at 9am. People have come from Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Waihi, Ohura, Wellington and Golden Bay, joined by a few locals – about 20 people altogether. It is raining and cold.
The parking system in the centre of town takes some getting used to. There are sensors in the pavement that activate as soon as a car drives into a parking space. You get 5 minutes grace to find change to feed the meter. You get a maximum 2 hours parking, then you have to move – pull out, count to 10, pull back in, feed meter again, repeat as often as necessary.
Going to court always involves lots of waiting around. The jury was selected by 1pm, then court adjourned until 2.15. So we hung around the courthouse, holding signs and engaging in some daktivist civil disobedience.
Marnz and Rob did a wonderful job keeping a steady supply of coffee and hot chocolate on the go, under difficult circumstances. It was greatly appreciated.
Doug McLeod provided some light entertainment, calling out “Cannabis for sale! Hashish for sale!” at regular intervals, especially whenever cops appeared. The cops ignored him, but a prosecutor complained about this and the joints to court staff, who in turn complained to Steve Wilkinson, because he was wearing a suit. This achieved nothing apart from making the prosecutor look like an idiot.
2.15pm – everybody goes back to the courtroom. At 2.25 Judge Barbara Morris appears and says a verdict is expected in another trial any minute – this is the trial that was supposed to finish the week before. Court adjourned till 3.30, hanging about resumes.
3.30pm – the trial starts at last, with a long spiel from the judge to the jury about what they are supposed to do. Then it was the turn of prosecutor Andrea Read, a blonde bitch who looked and sounded like she could have been a Nazi concentration camp guard in a past life.
When she is finished, all us spectators are kicked out so
XXXXXX and his “controller”, detective sergeant XXXXXX, can give their testimony in secret. More hanging around outside court, more joints go around.
A bitterly cold day with strong winds and intermittent rain. There are windfarms on the hills outside town and no wonder – the place is a wind tunnel. Nobody could stay outside the court very long in those conditions.
More secret testimony and adjournments. In the afternoon constable Brendan O’Brien testified, taking a long time to answer some of the questions.
At this stage we had been moved to courtroom 1, which has glass barriers in front of the public gallery, making it hard to hear. Lurking around the courtroom was Richard Morse, the detective in charge of Operation Relief – another shaven headed cop scumbag. What is it with cops shaving their heads? Do they think it makes them look tough?
The rain has stopped, the wind is still blowing, and there is enough sun out for Doug to spark up one of his solar cones.
Time for closing statements. Prosecutor bitch says: “This trial is not about reforming the cannabis laws. This is about abiding by the laws. It is not about an individual’s perception of right and wrong.” – and more along those lines.
Then it is Billy’s turn. He started to talk about how other people had access to the space where plants were found, but the judge would not allow this as it had not already been admitted as evidence.
Billy showed the jury bottles of hemp seed oil and talked about the hit and run that caused him to lose his leg. He discussed the PTSD he has suffered since then and the negative side effects of pharmaceutical medicines he had been prescribed – in contrast to cannabis, which has helped him cope.
He had time to refer to evidence based studies which have recommended law reform, his activities with Green Cross, and the personal cost to him of being prosecuted, before the judge cut him off.
“Your job is to apply the law as it stands,” Judge Morris told the jury. She also pointed out that entrapment is not a defense – a flaw in the law which allows cops to set people up like they did to Billy.
As the jury retired, Billy called out, “A not guilty verdict can change the law.”
It didn’t help. The jury came back within 2 hours with their verdict: guilty on all 5 charges. Useless bastards.
Billy’s sentencing will be on October 30 in Palmerston North. Plans are being made for an all night vigil at the court the night before sentencing. Further details will be posted here.
Some names in this article have been blanked out in accordance with Privacy Act 1993 Section 6