Conspiracy theorist's special Covid-19 web ban

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Oct 2021, 1:51PM
Eastwood was arrested at an anti-lockdown protest outside TVNZ in downtown Auckland last month. (Photo / Dean Purcell)
Eastwood was arrested at an anti-lockdown protest outside TVNZ in downtown Auckland last month. (Photo / Dean Purcell)

Conspiracy theorist's special Covid-19 web ban

Author
John Weekes, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 4 Oct 2021, 1:51PM

A conspiracy theorist arrested last month at an anti-lockdown protest has succeeded in a bid to relax his bail conditions.

Vinny Eastwood can now access the internet but has been banned from using online services to incite non-compliance with Covid-19 health orders.

In a judgment delivered today, Justice Simon Moore also removed Eastwood's 24-hour curfew.

Eastwood was arrested along with former political candidate Billy Te Kahika Jr outside TVNZ in downtown Auckland on August 18.

He was held in custody and then released on District Court bail but with a curfew and internet ban.

An earlier attempt to vary his bail at the District Court failed. But he went to the High Court last week, seeking to overturn the refusal to vary his bail.

At an August 19 hearing at Auckland District Court, Eastwood was also banned from contacting Te Kahika and another alleged associate.

He was ordered to stay at his West Auckland bail address at all times except for court matters, and to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

He was previously also banned from possessing any internet-capable device, banned from accessing the internet and banned from entering Auckland CBD.

Justice Moore today changed the internet bail conditions.

But he specified Eastwood could not use the internet to organise, attend or encourage non-compliance with the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act, or any orders made pursuant to that Act.

The Bail Act prohibits reporting of some details from Justice Moore's judgment.

Anti-lockdown protests

Eastwood and Te Kahika's anti-lockdown protest, which an estimated 50 to 100 people attended, was staged one day after the Government announced a level 4 lockdown.

At the time, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said officers wouldn't hesitate to lock up other people at any similar protests who refused to disperse.

"They can expect enforcement action," Coster said. "We will deal with them."

Since then, Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki staged a protest at Auckland Domain, which up to 2000 people are estimated to have attended.

Tamaki has not been charged. On Facebook today, Tamaki said his protest was peaceful and aimed at protecting civil rights and democracy.