Protestor who allegedly punched police horse at Sydney rally refuses Covid test in custody, corte dijo

An alleged Sydney anti-lockdown protester accused of punching a police horse called Tobruk will remain behind bars after refusing a Covid test that was a prerequiste for him to appear in court.

Kristian Pulkownik, 33, is yet to formally apply for bail after he was arrested on Saturday following a march in Sydney’s city centre where thousands of people defied coronavirus restrictions to attend.

He did not appear on screen for a second time this week at Sydney’s central local court on Thursday when his matter was mentioned.

The Surry Hills man allegedly struck a police horse and faces four charges of affray, animal cruelty, joining an unlawful assembly and failing to comply with a Covid-19 direction.

His barrister, Hollie Blake, claimed in court that corrective services officers were making it impossible to gain access to her client.

Magistrate Mark Richardson read out a note from Parklea prison indicating that Pulkownik could not be brought up to a video link area to appear because he was “refusing to be tested”.

“Your client is in custody and has been in the community and is a risk to others as he could be Covid-positive,” the magistrate said. “Your client is in isolation.”

Richardson suggested Pulkownik’s lawyers make a supreme court application if they continued to take umbrage with the situation.

Outside court, lawyer Tony Nikolic said he had one five-minute phone call with Pulkownik where he indicated that he was “absolutely” interested in applying for release.

“But we can’t take proper instructions and this is critical to the legal systemwe can’t do much without proper full instructions,” Nikolic said. He suggested prison guards could put a mobile phone in a plastic bag to facilitate greater access to his client.

Pulkownik has spent five days in custody following the so-called “Rally 4 Freedom” on Saturday where many unmasked protesters gathered to oppose NSW’s coronavirus health orders.

Greater Sydney has been locked down for five weeks with residents only able to leave home for specific reasons.

The matter is scheduled to return to court on 11 August when Pulkownik’s lawyers have said they would be making a bail application.

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