State Liberal MP David Elliott says he felt intimidated by the aggressive behavior of a man who filmed him as he questioned the legality of NSW’s COVID-19 restrictions during of the Delta outbreak in Sydney last year.
Daniel Joseph Luland was charged with two counts of intimidation after he approached, checked in and followed then-police and emergency services minister Mr Elliott in August 2020.
Giving evidence in local court on Friday, Mr Elliott described Mr Luland’s driving as ‘rather aggressive’ and ‘rather physically intimidating’ as the pair walked down Old Northern Road towards the Grove Street shopping center in Baulkham Hills.
“When people cross that threshold, I think a reasonable person would probably be pretty cautious when this type of behavior occurs. And let me tell you, it’s very unusual for this type of behavior to occur in the district of Hills,” Mr. Elliott said. .
The current transport minister said he was on heightened alert after being “full” of death threats and harassment during his seven years as a politician.
In recorded footage of the August 2021 conversation, which was posted on social media and played in court, Mr Luland describes how the ‘tyrannical’ NSW government illegally took away the rights of his citizens through its COVID-19 lockdowns.
Mr Luland is also heard talking about a ‘media blackout’, amendments to federal legislation allowing the use of UN forces on Australian soil and the ‘racist’ lockdown of south-west Sydney during the Delta epidemic.
Footage shows Mr Luland telling another man, Stephen Parnell, to ‘f*** off’ after he came to the aid of the then police minister.
Both Mr. Elliott and Mr. Parnell say they were intimidated by Mr. Luland’s conduct.
From the witness stand, Mr. Parnell called Mr. Luland’s behavior harassment.
“I thought this guy wasn’t doing anything good. It might actually be a bit mean,” he told magistrate Eve Wynhausen.
The prosecution says Mr Luland’s tone, demeanor and persistence in following Mr Elliott amounted to intimidation and that he and Mr Parnell feared for their safety.
Luland’s defense attorney Vinny Vijay told court his client’s behavior may have been annoying but he did not rise to the level of intimidation and the footage showed no intent bullying.
Mr Vijay said the conversation started “quite cordially”, noting his client kept his distance and did not attempt to physically stop the NSW politician from going to the mall.
Ms. Wynhausen will deliver her decision on Friday afternoon.
Australian Associated Press