Conspiracy theorist Billy Te Kahika Jr has been jailed after organising a protest on the first day of the Covid-19 delta lockdown in 2021.
Te Kahika and Vinny Eastwood, who are also bandmates, were both found guilty of intentionally failing to comply with the Covid-19 Public Health Response Act by organising and attending the protest.
It took place outside the TVNZ building in central Auckland on the first day of the level 4 lockdown on August 18, 2021.
The pair appeared at the Auckland District Court on Thursday, where Judge Peter Winter sentenced Te Kahika to four months’ imprisonment, which was met with murmurs of disapproval from his supporters.
Before the courtroom opened, Te Kahika addressed about 30 supporters with a karakia and said he was “fighting for everybody’s freedoms and rights”.
Judge Winter was satisfied Te Kahika was the orchestrator and organiser of the protest, whereas Eastwood’s actions were in a supporting role and he even tried to calm the crowd at one point.
“[Te Kahika] had the most to gain in notoriety from the breach,” Judge Winter said.
“I find that he has exhibited no remorse to the offending other than remorse for himself.”
At trial, Te Kahika said he told police about his intention to organise a protest for 200 to 300 people.
He said he wanted police to be present to ensure the safety of protesters, the public and to prevent disorderly behaviour and violence.
Read more Conspiracy theorist protest organisers Billy Te Kahika Jr and Vinny Eastwood jailed