6 August 2021

Possible 'sovereign citizen' allegedly refused to follow COVID-19 rules

| Albert McKnight
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Elvira Shagabuddinova

Elvira Shagabuddinova, who gives her last name as Useinova, leaves the ACT Courts on Friday. Photo: Albert McKnight.

A woman, suggested to be a sovereign citizen, will face a hearing next year over allegations she wouldn’t comply with COVID-19 safety directions.

Elvira Shagabuddinova, who gave her last name as Useinova in court, was arrested after an incident on Sunday (1 August) at a store in Tuggeranong.

ACT Policing alleged she would not sign into the store using the Check in CBR app.

The store manager asked her to leave, but she allegedly refused, and police were called.

Police said that despite repeated requests, Ms Shagabuddinova still refused to check-in and was arrested.

She first appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday (2 August) before being taken to hospital for a mental health assessment, but she returned to court on Thursday and Friday after being assessed as having no mental illness.

READ ALSO Man from Sydney arrested for alleged COVID travel breach

Communication was an issue from the beginning as her first language is Russian. Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker eventually requested the hearing be delayed by a day to obtain the services of an interpreter.

But before then, Ms Shagabuddinova questioned whether Magistrate Walker had the right to judge her and asked about political immunity.

“I believe I’ve got rights to protect my private information,” she said.

“I’m not a person; you can’t charge me as a person.”

On Friday, prosecutor Elizabeth Wren said, based on what Ms Shagabuddinova had told the court and police, she had suggested she was not bound by laws of the territory and appeared to be, for the lack of a better term, a “sovereign citizen”.

Ms Wren alleged she told police she was not required to comply with the health directives.

Broadly speaking, sovereign citizens believe they are not bound by government laws.

Through the Russian interpreter, Ms Shagabuddinova asked several questions of Magistrate Walker.

READ ALSO Sydney woman who flew to ACT without valid COVID exemption arrested at midnight

“Is the judge here representing a person who’s alive, or is the judge representing the state?” she asked.

“Does the judge have the right to judge a person who’s alive, a man or a woman?

“Is this court sovereign? If yes, please present the documents.

“Does the judge or the court have unlimited financial liability?”

Ms Shagabuddinova eventually said she wanted to proceed to a hearing, so the court found she entered not guilty pleas to her charges.

The charges were failing to comply with a direction without a reasonable excuse and failing to provide her name or address. There was also a charge of trespassing at a St Vincent de Paul store in Greenway.

Magistrate Walker ordered her to be released from custody without bail and adjourned the matter for a one-day hearing on 20 January 2022.

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Does this story imply that she emigrated from Russia to Australia? Doesn’t that process entail documentation that she will abide by Australian laws therefore contradicting the basic premise of a “sovereign citizen”?

There’s still heaps of people ignoring the qr codes. Just saw a suit wearing fellow in Big W Woden run past the greeter into the shop full speed. His public service pass flying in the wind

I’m guessing little Miss Sovereign Citizen is living here because of the lack of freedom in her native Russia.

A word of advice for the courts – please don’t be cluttered up by these ridiculous people. Fine them and, if the fines aren’t paid, lock them up ($1000 = 1 week incarceration).

I think it’s $110 a day at the moment.

This article begs the question – Is this the first time Ms Shagabuddinova has entered any premises since QR code (or manual) recording became mandatory in the ACT? Or is this the first time she has encountered premises which follow the requirement to ensure details of all who enter have done what is required?

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