Three people apparently tied to the sovereign citizen protests at Old Parliament House have brought chaos to a Canberra courtroom, including when one approached the magistrate and plonked a voluminous folder down in front of her, which was met with a yell of “don’t you dare” from the bench.
Elder Bruce Shillingsworth appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (20 January), charged with a count of trespassing on Commonwealth premises.
He, along with a woman also joining him in the courtroom, had been in court earlier this month to support alleged protest ringleader Bruce Shillingsworth Jr, who is accused of being linked to the Old Parliament House fire.
The hearing had a confusing start. When Magistrate Beth Campbell asked if his name was Bruce Shillingsworth, he replied, “objection”.
“You may call him Bruce of clan Shillingsworth,” the woman supporting him said.
Mr Shillingsworth repeatedly yelled over the top of Magistrate Campbell, including saying there was “no jurisdiction”.
While Magistrate Campbell was writing, the woman walked from the gallery to the prosecutor and placed a large folder on the desk in front of her, then walked up to the magistrate and put a similar folder on the bench in front of her.
“Don’t you dare!” Magistrate Campbell yelled at her, knocking the folder off her desk.
Police were called and the woman was removed from the courtroom.
Mr Shillingsworth continued to yell from the back of the courtroom, including: “Let the record know you have now been served.”
“I haven’t,” Magistrate Campbell replied.
He continued to talk even after she completed the mention of the case and left the bench for the protesters to be removed from the room.
“This kangaroo court doesn’t exist on this country,” he said once she’d left.
“We are the sovereign, original owners on this land.
“You have now been served.”
After being escorted outside, passing a large number of police near the courthouse’s entry, he was cheered by a crowd of supporters, including one who yelled, “they got no jurisdiction”.
Magistrate Campbell had said she would enter a not guilty plea to his charge in the absence of him indicating which way he would plead. The matter was adjourned to 5 August.