Authorities were aware the 29-year-old had travelled from Queensland to NSW “without a reasonable excuse”, in breach of COVID-19 public health orders.
A Victorian man will spend at least three months in jail after he helped organise an anti-lockdown protest for Sydney this weekend.
Anthony Khallouf was arrested at Hornsby Railway Station, in Sydney’s north, yesterday afternoon and told officers he was lost.
But authorities were aware the 29-year-old had travelled from Queensland to NSW without a reasonable excuse, in breach of COVID-19 public health orders.
Khallouf had reportedly been staying at a hotel in North Sydney.
Today, in Hornsby Local Court, he pleaded guilty to four counts of not complying with a direction and one count each of encouraging the commission of a crime and making false representations resulting in a police investigation.
Magistrate Robyn Denes sentenced him to eight months in prison with a non-parole period of three months.
He will be released on parole on November 18.
According to police, Khallouf was involved in planning an unauthorised rally in Sydney for this weekend.
Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon this week said a large police operation would prevent any unlawful activity, including “disruption”.
Officers have handed public safety orders to so-called “agitators” of the protest, many of whom attended last month’s unauthorised march in the CBD.
“By and large, those people have been contrite for attending the first protest, so we certainly believe that they’ve heeded the message,” Deputy Commissioner Lanyon said.
“But for those who haven’t, please know, we are prepared for tomorrow.
“Our police have done a lot of planning in preparation for this.
“We are certainly aware of the types of people and those people who are actually planning tomorrow.”
The operation will involve 1,400 officers stationed across the metropolitan area.
Deputy Commissioner Lanyon said police were aware of tactics being discussed by would-be protesters online.
“This is not about stopping free speech, this is about stopping the spread of the virus,” he said.
Talk of the gathering has been swirling on encrypted messenger apps since thousands attended the rally last month.
That protest resulted in more than 60 people being charged and more than 350 infringement notices issued.
On Tuesday, Khallouf posted a video online where he was seen with the Harbour Bridge behind him and joked about “giving up” in the face of criticism, apologising to “anybody I’ve let down”.
“I’ll see you guys this Saturday,” he then said, saluting the camera.
Signs of the Times Comment: The protest is happening:
Over 200 protesters have been arrested, 7+ police injured.