Sunday, November 28

Lynn’s New Terrorist Attack: Failure to Comply with Mental Health Law Criticized

An intelligence expert wonders why the Mental Health Act was not used to arrest the LynnMall terrorist after he was released from jail.

Police stand guard outside the Countdown supermarket on Lynn Mall in Auckland on September 4, 2021, the day after an ISIS-inspired attacker wounded six people with a knife before being shot to death by undercover police.

Police on duty outside the LynnMall the day after an Islamic State-inspired man injured seven people in a knife attack before being fatally shot by undercover officers.
Photo: AFP

The Sri Lankan citizen was released from prison and all legal avenues were explored to keep him in detention, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference this afternoon.

In May 2021, he sought advice on whether the prevention orders could be used and whether the man had been psychologically evaluated.

“Later they informed me that the prevention orders could not be used and that he had refused the psychological evaluation.”

It was unclear why the man could not have been detained for an evaluation using the Mental Health Act, former counterterrorism adviser Paul Buchanan said.

“After his release, he could have been immediately placed in an institution under the Mental Health Act to undergo that psychiatric examination. And he could have been detained indefinitely until psychiatrists determined that he posed no threat to society.

“The prime minister said that all legal remedies were tried, but that at least one, the Mental Health Act, was not tested. For me, that’s the big problem.”

Anti-terrorism laws are not the answer

Security Analyst Paul Buchanan of 36th Parallel Assessments

Paul buchanan

Meanwhile, stricter counterterrorism laws that allow for the arrest of those planning terrorist acts are not the answer, Buchanan said.

“One of the things that the government does, repeatedly, is that every time there is something related to terrorism, they mobilize to expand the powers granted to the government under the anti-terrorism legislation. There is this constant push to give the government more and more powers. .

“The remedy is not to continue expanding the powers of the state in this area called terrorism. The remedy is to have enough in the criminal laws, so that if there is clear evidence that someone wishes to harm others, or someone is preparing to do harm, they can be arrested and charged under the Crimes Act. “

Having separate terrorism charges gave offenders praise and only raised their cause, he said.

“You don’t want to elevate these guys, you know, give them an intimidating pulpit in court, or make them martyrs through like-minded people by elevating the cause or the motivation, just focus on the crime.”

However, University of Waikato law professor Alexander Gillespie disagreed, saying anti-terrorism laws should be strengthened to include planning for attacks.

“New Zealand made significant progress between what happened on March 15 and what happened yesterday … but there are still gaps.

“The first is about the preparation of a terrorism crime, and that needs to be changed, the other big question that people will ask now is, if this person was a foreign citizen, what were they doing in this country when they were terrorists? risk?”

The terrorist was 22 when he arrived in New Zealand in 2011 and was not known to hold extreme views, Arden said. He came to the attention of the police in 2016 after he made troubling posts on Facebook.

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