Crown alleges farmer threatened PM
A man charged with making repeated threats by letter to Prime Minister John Key has gone on trial on nine charges in the Christchurch District Court.
The trial of Oxford farmer, 56-year-old All Means All - previously known as Mark Feary - is scheduled to last for two weeks before Judge Jane Farish and a jury.
All himself, and Judge Farish have told the jury that he has been on trial on similar charges before.
All said that he was "fighting for freedom" and he would refuse to eat or drink if he was sent to prison.
"I'll fight for it to death if needs be. Don't feel sorry for me. That's my choice to fight for freedom," he told the jury.
Feary denies eight charges of threatening to kill Key or cause him grievous bodily harm, with messages saying, "Alls going 2 kill U," or "Alls 2 blow U 2 kingdom come."
He is also charged with one alternative charge of criminal harassment of Key.
Crown prosecutor Karyn South said All Means All had legally changed his name from Mark Feary.
She told the jury: "He has had issues with the government for many years over a property transaction involving his farm. He is unhappy about how that transaction went for him. He embarked on sending a series of threatening letters to people involved in politics or the news media."
She said All had been approached by the police and spoken to about his conduct. "But he has escalated his behaviour and has made the threats that have resulted in him being charged and on trial here today."
The threats took place between July and September 2012. The Crown said that he had used words that he knew would mean the threats would be taken seriously. "He has had a grievance with the government and the Crown says he wanted to be heard."
She referred the jury to an exhibits book which contains copies of the letters. The letters give All's home address at Oxford, and his cellphone number, and were signed, "Yours faithfully, All Means All".
Miss South said the Prime Minister would not give evidence. The issue of whether he knew of the threats was irrelevant. The Crown had to prove that All intended the letters to be taken seriously - "that in sending them he intended to come across as menacing, dangerous, or unhinged".
For the criminal harassment charge, the Crown had to prove that All had sent a series of letters, within a 12-month period, and that they were offensive or threatening and were intended to cause the Prime Minister to fear for his safety. "It is irrelevant whether the Prime Minister did fear for his safety," she said.
The Crown would call an expert who would say the handwriting was All's, and a fingerprint expert would say that his prints were on the envelopes and letters.
In his opening address, All said the letters were not the threats that the Government and the prosecution said they were. "My position is that nothing in these proceedings is a threat," he said.
The Comments Editor at The Press, Ric Stevens, told of being shown a letter that had arrived at the office on July 18, 2012, saying: "Alls going 2 kill U," and referring to the Prime Minister. He regarded it as a threat and referred it to the police.
Cross-examined by All, he was asked about the effect of someone writing in the third person.
All asked: "Is there any way you could construe it as meaning something else, even having a nonsensical meaning?"
Stevens said it had taken him some time to work out what was being said. He did not immediately realise that All was a person's name.
All referred him to another page, for which no charge had been laid, saying: "Its killing time for All."
Stevens said that also looked like a threat. "My mind would go to tragedies overseas. These things inevitably come to mind," he said.
A staff member at the Prime Minister's office told of receiving three letters which she regarded as making threats, and referring them to Parliamentary Security.
The trial is continuing.