Byron Bay Court House. Picture: Liana Boss
Byron Bay Court House. Picture: Liana Boss

Protest reverend seeks court’s permission to tend his flock

A HEARING date has been set for a group of men who were charged following a protest in Byron Bay.

Hundreds of people gathered for a "Freedom Walk" protest on September 5, in contravention of a direction relating to public gatherings at that time.

When several of the accused first appeared in court later that month, Tyagarah man Liam Robert Munday, 36, pleaded not guilty to hindering, willfully obstructing and resisting police. Mullumbimby man Zack Alexander Simmons, 22, pleaded not guilty to willfully obstructing and resisting police.

At that time, Main Arm man Alistair Larmour, 43, pleaded not guilty to resisting police and he lodged the same plea to failing to comply with a Public Health Order when the group returned to Byron Bay Local Court on Monday.

Mr Munday's brother, 34-year-old Michael Gerard Munday, from Main Arm, had his matter - involving charges of assaulting and resisting police - mentioned last week and he has also pleaded not guilty.

All four men are expected to defend their charges in a hearing in June, 2021.

Mr Larmour asked the court to remove a bail condition prohibiting him from going east of the Pacific Highway within the Byron Shire.

The court heard he was a practising reverend for Serenity Vibrations Ministries.

"I have people who request my presence east of the highway and I have to let them down," Mr Larmour said.

Police prosecutor Chris Martin opposed the application, saying it was "anticipated" there would be further protests the accused may attend.

Mr Larmour told the court he had "no intention of attending any further protest" and stressed any such events were only a hypothetical prospect at this time.

Magistrate Karen Stafford agreed to remove the condition but imposed a new one, prohibiting him from attending any protest which is a breach of a public health order or direction.

Ms Stafford made the same bail variation for Liam Munday and Mr Simmons.

Byangum man Shay McRae, 45, has pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with a Public Health Order and his matter will return to court on December 21.