Dramatic scenes unfolded at the front of the Australian Capital Territory Law Courts on Monday 4th April. An enthusiastic gathering ensued regarding the first of many upcoming prosecutions against protesters of the Freedom movement which initially descended upon Canberra in February of 2022.
The two plaintiffs are facing charges of trespass on commonwealth land.
Plaintiff Ms Crabb and her partner Mr O’Brien were barred entry to the Law Courts after refusing to wear face coverings. Ms Crabb argued that, under the Biosecurity Act of 2015, section 61, the Court Sherriff’s had not provided a medical directive signed-off by a Biosecurity Officer. The Magistrate informed the plaintiff that by not wearing a mask they could not enter the court room, constituting a “failure to appear”. This was as the Plaintiffs stood at the front door, ready to enter and despite the ACT having no standing mandates.
A prominent Sydney solicitors barrister, was sought to appear at the last minute, representing the plaintiff via phone call. Australian Federal Police, in parallel with the Plaintiffs, sought an adjournment until the 19th of April. It was outside the Court House that bomb-shell allegations were proposed by a prominent speaker for the Freedom movement, Queenslander Phillip Jones.
Addressing a large crowd of protesters, along with hundreds of viewers on livestream. Mr Jones stated, “These are the first two trespass cases on Commonwealth Land [from the freedom movement]. I have been told they [the Government] were going to throw absolutely every single one of our taxpayer dollars at this case, because they want to set a precedence to use this particular legislation to stop people from protesting.”
The unusually tame gathering of normally vocal Freedom protesters, who have gathered in Canberra from around Australia, fell silent as Mr Jones continued, “The people they [Ms Crabb and Mr O’Brien] are going to be fighting are the Attorney General’s Office. The Australian Federal Police want to bring the Attorney General’s Office into this case. Every single taxpayer’s dollar spread to its limits to fight two people in a van”.
“You know why they’re fighting two people in a van with the Attorney General’s Office?” asked Mr Jones. “These are the first two people being charged with these [ordinance charges]. There are lots of people being charged with these particular things; they [the Australian Federal Police] want to set a precedence so they can continue to misuse this legislation”, Mr. Jones continued.
“If you look through the history of Australia, with the 1932 ordinance 8-a, they misused that legislation a lot. They displaced Aboriginal communities, they have displaced farmers so that they can drill and frack, they’re using it again. We have been at war with the government, and we have been to-ing and fro-ing, taunting each other, and there’s been a few little shots fired across the bow, from us and from them. These are the real shots”, Mr. Jones divulged.
“These are the first two shots in this war, these are the big guns; the Attorney General’s Office is the biggest gun. If we let these people beat [Ms Crabb and Mr O’Brien], we’ve lost the war, because if we can’t win the first two shots, we’re on the back foot running already. Why have they chosen these two shots? Because if they fire these two shots now… They’re worried, they’re concerned, we’re winning. So, they needed to pull out the biggest guns they had, on two people in a van. Because these two people in a van represent this movement. Those two people in a van are the first two people that were standing on the front line, that were in the crosshairs.”
A GiveSendGo has been set up to fund the court case on behalf of Ms Crabb and Mr O‘Brien (https://www.givesendgo.com/lfff). The pair are seeking to raise $200,000 for the proceedings. Mr O ‘Brien, who previously performed musically on Parliament lawn during the Freedom rallies, is also raising money for the Legal Fund For Freedom (https://www.lfff.com.au) through sales of his music single, “We’re Still Here” (https://stream.atomicmusic.space/track/2135-kane-obz-were-still-here). The profile of the freedom movement in the Australian Capital Territory has reached a new stage.