A traveller who apparently came to Canberra for “sightseeing” has been arrested at the recent protests against COVID-19 restrictions outside the National Library. She has been charged with assaulting police.
Kerrie Lynne Woolley, 66, and another protestor, Tony Michael Evans, 49, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday (3 February) after the protest the day before.
Court documents say police went to the unlawful campsite at Patrick White Terrace near the National Library on Wednesday (2 February) to serve notices to the people staying there, saying they were not allowed to camp and had to leave.
When officers were about halfway through the campsite, they allege Ms Woolley approached one and began to film and yell at him, then pushed him in the shoulder.
Police sought to arrest her. She allegedly resisted their efforts for a short time.
“Whilst this has happened a large crowd of protesters from the campsite have crowded around police and began filming and yelling at police,” court documents say.
“Police were forced to form a police pod around the defendant and arresting members to get through the protesters safely.”
Ms Woolley pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting a frontline community service provider and resisting a public official, while Mr Evans was charged with obstructing a police officer.
Prosecutor Hannah Lee didn’t oppose bail for Ms Woolley, although Magistrate Louise Taylor said she had some concerns after duty lawyer Mr Chen said she was retired and was travelling around the country.
Mr Chen said she had no criminal history, was “adamant she’s not guilty”, and would “relish” the opportunity to vindicate herself.
“I’m not interested in what she’s going to relish,” Magistrate Taylor said.
Ms Woolley appeared in court over audio-visual link and listened to some of the proceedings with a face mask pulled down to only cover her mouth until Magistrate Taylor noticed.
“You need to put your mask over your nose, otherwise it’s of no value to anybody,” the magistrate told her.
“I have an exemption,” Ms Woolley muttered, but pulled the mask up.
Ms Woolley was granted bail and her case was listed for hearing on 12 August, with conditions including she not go near Patrick White Terrace in Parkes and live in Narrawallee, NSW.
She didn’t want the condition to not go near Patrick White Terrace as Mr Chen had said she intended to visit Old Parliament House and other tourist sites.
“If she intends to sightsee in Canberra, she will have to make sure she doesn’t fall foul of that 100-metre rule,” Magistrate Taylor said.
Mr Evans was also granted bail to return to Paralowlie in South Australia but did not enter a plea. His case was adjourned to 24 February.