Two men involved in the ongoing protests in Canberra’s parliamentary area were granted bail in the ACT Magistrates Court today.
Bruce Shillingsworth Jnr, 30, and Dylan Wilson, 38, appeared in court over charges relating to a fire at Old Parliament House on December 30, and other related charges.
Mr Shillingsworth Jnr, who was identified in court as one of the protest’s leaders, pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting arson, assaulting a frontline community service provider, defacing public property, resisting a territory public official and aiding and abetting damage to Commonwealth property.
Police allege he helped another man, Nicholas Reed, set the building alight by moving people out of Mr Reed’s way and directing him as he carried burning coals to the building’s front portico.
Mr Reed, 30, faced court last week on charges of arson.
Police documents say Mr Shillingsworth Jnr had pointed Mr Reed towards a couch that was in front of the doors and asked protesters to help him move it, clearing the way to the front door.
In court today, Magistrate Beth Campbell noted that Mr Shillingsworth Jnr appeared to be “one of the ringleaders” of the protests based outside at Old Parliament House, but that he lacked any relevant criminal history.
She granted him bail on the condition he left the ACT to reside in Sydney, reported to police every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, did not enter the suburb of Parkes — which includes Canberra’s parliamentary zone — except for one visit in the presence of a police officer, did not contact Mr Reed and did not publish any social-media content about the protests.
Mr Shillingsworth Jnr agreed to the conditions.
“Your honour can take my word 100 per cent — I’ve been an upstanding citizen within your laws thus far … You have my word,” he said.
A number of protesters were in the court today, including Mr Shillingsworth Jnr’s father – an Indigenous climate activist also named Bruce Shillingsworth.
The group initially tried to represent Mr Shillingsworth Jnr and repeatedly interrupted proceedings.
“You are not appearing in my court at the moment, would you please be quiet,” Magistrate Campbell told the protesters.
“It’s not like on television where someone can just jump up and say ‘objection’, so would you be quiet, please.”
As Mr Shillingsworth Jnr was agreeing to his bail conditions, his father shouted “you’re signing a contract”.
“Can the mob at the back please be quiet,” his son replied.
“This is the first night I’ve spent in a cell, I don’t want this for anyone else.”
Mr Shillingsworth Snr left the court after his son agreed to the bail conditions.
Magistrate Campbell said that, in granting Mr Shillingsworth Jnr bail, she was relying on him to stay true to his word.
“I’m a little bit concerned about those who might influence you otherwise,” she said.
Police ‘failed’ to produce evidence: magistrate
Dylan Wilson, from Lindendale in New South Wales, was also granted bail today after Magistrate Campbell found police had not produced relevant evidence relating to new charges.
“How can I possibly refuse bail when there’s no facts before me?” the magistrate said in court.
“I can’t be asked to do a job that police … have failed to do themselves.”
Mr Wilson was facing charges of assaulting a frontline community service member, trespass on premises, failing to comply with directions and resisting a territory official.
He interjected several times during the hearing, claiming the court held no authority over him.
“You’re unlawfully detaining me in a kangaroo system,” he said at one point.
As a part of his bail conditions, Mr Wilson is not allowed to be in the suburb of Parkes.
He had earlier breached this condition, and Magistrate Campbell warned him that if he did so again if would be detained.
Both men will face court next month.
Video: S.Africa parliament fire suspect appears in court (Reuters)
Source: Thanks msn.com