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Kamis, 23 Juli 2020

NSW Police may not be able to stop Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney, despite pandemic - Daily Mail

How a badly timed radio interview could mean police have NO choice but to let Black Lives Matter protesters descend on Sydney despite harrowing coronavirus figures

  • Court hearing will decide if Black Lives Matter protest can go ahead legally  
  • Police Commissioner's radio interview may have killed plans to stop July 28 rally
  • Mick Fuller said he'd already made instructions to take matter to Supreme Court
  • Went on radio three hours before police met with protest organisers on Monday 
  • Supreme Court will decide on Friday whether rally can go ahead amid outbreak 

A radio interview may have killed NSW Police's plans to stop next Tuesday's Black Matters Lives rally in Sydney from going ahead.

The state's police boss Mick Fuller vowed to do everything in his power to stop the July 28 rally from legally going ahead when he went on 2GB on Monday morning.

He told breakfast show host Ben Fordham he had already instructed assistant commissioner Mick Willing to take the matter to the Supreme Court.

The police chief added lives would be at risk, and that Victoria had shown how dangerous the protests can be for health with an alarming rise of new coronavirus cases.

In Melbourne, at least six protesters from the June 6 rally have since been diagnosed with coronavirus. 

The commissioner's tough talking comments have since been described by Supreme Court judge as 'very concerning', since the interview occurred three hours before police even met with event convener Paddy Gibson. 

A Supreme Court hearing on Friday will decide whether the July 28  Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney should go ahead go ahead. Pictured is a protester at the June 6 rally

A Supreme Court hearing on Friday will decide whether the July 28  Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney should go ahead go ahead. Pictured is a protester at the June 6 rally

Black Live Matters activists attended Thursday's Supreme Court hearing (pictured) with the court set to decide whether the June 28 protest in Sydney can go ahead

Black Live Matters activists attended Thursday's Supreme Court hearing (pictured) with the court set to decide whether the June 28 protest in Sydney can go ahead

The activist's lawyer Felicity Graham argued the police-initiated Supreme Court action was invalid at Thursday's hearing.

Ms Graham said the law dictated police had to take any matters put by organisers at the meeting 'into consideration' before they went to the Supreme Court.

But they claim the radio interview shows police had already made their minds up about the protest. 

Mr Fuller's comments showed that wasn't the case, she said.

'There's no evidence at all (the commissioner) took into consideration representations made by Mr Gibson in writing or matters raised in the conferral process,' Ms Graham told the hearing.

'It's clear the commissioner formed a view to oppose the holding of the public assembly and made the decision to go to court before even the representations had been received or the conferral process had taken place.'

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller (pictured on July 8) urged Sydneysiders to pledge their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in alternative forums

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller (pictured on July 8) urged Sydneysiders to pledge their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in alternative forums

Justice Ierace said he was 'very concerned' by the interview.

'If it is to be the case that the commissioner said publicly he'd given instructions before the meeting, (then) on its face, that would be very concerning,' he said.

NSW Police say Mr Fuller delegated responsibility to Assistant Commissioner Stacey Maloney, who made the decision to go to court after the conference.

She is due to give evidence when the hearing resumes on Friday morning.

'At that time (of the interview), the commissioner wasn't exercising a function under the Act in any event,' said Michael Spartalis for NSW Police.  

Justice Ierace will decide on Friday whether the July 28 rally can go ahead amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in parts of Sydney.

NSW has suffered double-digit cases of coronavirus almost every day since July 13 after a freight worker from Melbourne spread the disease at a pub in south-west Sydney.

At least 4,000 protesters are expected to attend a Black Matters Lives rally in Sydney next Tuesday (pictured, the last rally on July 16 in the Harbour City)

At least 4,000 protesters are expected to attend a Black Matters Lives rally in Sydney next Tuesday (pictured, the last rally on July 16 in the Harbour City)

If the protest is declared illegal, police will have the powers to move on or arrest demonstrators blocking roads and issue $1000 fines to those breaching restrictions.

At least 4,000 protesters are expected to attend the July 28 rally being organised for the family of David Dungay Jr, 26, who died in custody at Sydney's Long Bay Jail in December 2015 after he was forcibly removed from his prison cell.

Five guards were later cleared by the NSW Coroner of any wrongdoing.  

Mr Dungay's family still plan to attend on Tuesday, even if the rally is declared illegal. 

'No matter what a court says, at the end of the day this is Aboriginal land and nothing should be able to stop us from protesting,' his nephew Paul Silva told The Daily Telegraph.

'The whole world has seen video footage of him being held down and begging for his life continuously.'

'Me and my family have fought for the last five years.'  

A Supreme Court will decide whether Tuesday's rally in Sydney can go ahead (pictured, a previous Black Lives Matter rally in The Domain on July 5)

A Supreme Court will decide whether Tuesday's rally in Sydney can go ahead (pictured, a previous Black Lives Matter rally in The Domain on July 5)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison believe there should be no 'special rule' or 'ticket' for protests to breach the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

'My response to that, as an Aboriginal person and a family member of an Aboriginal person killed in custody, is the special rule and ticket not to obey the law goes to police and Corrective Services in Australia,' he told 2GB on Wednesday. 

Former prime minister Tony Abbott also slammed the rally, describing the Black Lives Matter protesters as 'copycats'.

He claimed marches are 'out of place' in Australia after the movement swept over from the United states in the wake of George Floyd 's death.

'I don't like the copycat culture to start with but I particularly think that it's out of place here,' said on a podcast with Institute of Public Affairs John Roskam. 

'I say to everyone unhappy with Australia, what country would you rather live in? Anyone who thinks that we are in some way racist, sexist, whatever, what country is better?'

'And the truth is it's almost impossible to identify one.'

More than 4,000 protesters are expected to attend next week's rally in Sydney, sparking fears a second wave of coronavirus cases will worsen (pictured, the June 6 protest in Sydney)

More than 4,000 protesters are expected to attend next week's rally in Sydney, sparking fears a second wave of coronavirus cases will worsen (pictured, the June 6 protest in Sydney)

Mr Gibson said it was 'critical' the rally went ahead next Tuesday, while the world was 'finally listening' to the concerns of black voices.

He said the risk posed by the protest was no more than the risk hundreds of people had taken in recent weeks by visiting the beach, packed markets or shopping centres. 

'I do understand people would be concerned. I was at the markets on the weekend where hundreds, if not thousands, of people went through the markets,' Mr Gibson told the Today Show earlier this week.

Since the start of June, NSW Police has gone to the Supreme Court four times to seek an order prohibiting the holding of a public assembly.

The first, a major rally in Sydney, lost its 'authorised' status then won a last-minute reprieve in the Court of Appeal on a technicality.

A Wollongong rally in mid-June was banned over the health risks while a Newcastle rally in early July was permitted after a judge ruled health risks were low.

The hearing heard that Commissioner Fuller went on radio to say he'd had already instructed assistant commissioner Mick Willing to take the matter to the Supreme Court, three hours before police due to meet with event convener Paddy Gibson (pictured left). He pictured with Paul Silva, the nephew of David Dungay Jnr

The hearing heard that Commissioner Fuller went on radio to say he'd had already instructed assistant commissioner Mick Willing to take the matter to the Supreme Court, three hours before police due to meet with event convener Paddy Gibson (pictured left). He pictured with Paul Silva, the nephew of David Dungay Jnr

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2020-07-23 22:57:11Z
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