New Zealand Police v David Albert [2017] NZDC 4724

Published 18 January 2018

Pre-trial application — application to withdraw guilty plea — challenge to search warrant — sufficiency of evidence — declaration of individual sovereignty — cultivation of cannabis — possession of cannabis — possession of cannabis for supply — drugs — assault — Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 — New Zealand Maori Council v Attorney General — Creeks v R HC Auckland A138/00, 6 November 2000. The defendant was charged with cultivation of cannabis, possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for the purposes of selling or offering to sell that cannabis to a person over 18. The defendant was also charged with one count of assault. The drugs charges were brought following a police search which the defendant challenged the sufficiency of the evidence relied on to grant that warrant. The defendant had a surveillance system at his address which showed someone entering his property, the defendant was concerned that there was a covert police operation and challenged the basis of the search. The court found that there was sufficient evidence for the issuing of a search warrant on the defendant's address. The defendant further sought permission to withdraw his guilty pleas in relation to the drugs charges on the basis that he believed that he had individual sovereignty and was not bound by the laws of the Misuse of Drugs Act, he presented to the court a document intituled "Proclamation of Self-Determination and Individual Sovereignty" citing documents including the Treaty of Waitangi, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Supplementary Convention of the Abolition of Slavery as well as other international law documents. The court referenced "New Zealand Maori Council" in finding that all persons within the geographical territory of New Zealand, and with reference to "Creeks" further found that an assertion of Maori sovereignty was not justiciable within the general Courts of New Zealand. The court found that the defendant was bound by the Misuse of Drugs Act and that he was not successful in absolving himself of liability under that Act of Parliament. The court was not satisfied that there was an appropriate defence available and that the guilty pleas in relation to the drugs charges could not be set aside. Judgment Date: 7 March 2017.