Man accused of punching Tobruk the police horse at anti-lockdown protest is kept behind bars after ‘REFUSING to take a Covid test’
- Lawyer claimed rights of accused at risk after he was accused of punching horse
- Kristian Pulkownik allegedly struck NSW Police horse Tobruk during Sydney rally
- He faces four charges for affray, animal cruelty and joining an unlawful assembly
- Lawyer Tony Nikolic said he was unable to contact his client before court hearing
- Court said case was set down for the day and accused ‘unavailable’ via video link
A man who allegedly punched a police horse at Sydney’s anti-lockdown protest will be kept behind bars after refusing to take a Covid-19 test.
Kristian Pulkownik, 33, allegedly struck NSW Police horse Tobruk in the nose as his rider was managing thousands of protesters who marched in the city’s CBD last Saturday as part of the ‘Rally 4 Freedom march’.
He’d been hit with a string of charges including affray, committing an act of cruelty upon an animal, and breaching a Covid-19 restriction.
Pulkownik was set to appear via video link at the Central Local Court on Thursday morning but magistrate Mark Richardson told the court he couldn’t leave his cell due to his refusal to have a Covid swab, the ABC reported.
Having been at the protest with thousands of others while Sydney is experiencing record high case numbers means the 33-year-old could be at risk of contracting the virus.
He is now being kept in isolation at the Parklea Correctional Centre and his case will return to court on August 11.
NSW Police posted a photo of Kristian Pulkownik, 33, allegedly punching police horse Tobruk during Saturday’s protest. He faces four charges for affray, animal cruelty, joining an unlawful assembly and failing to comply with a Covid-19 direction
‘Your client is refusing to be tested, your client is in custody and a risk to others as he could be Covid positive and is in isolation,’ Mr Richardson told Pulkownik’s legal team.
‘And they are not prepared to put him on screen.’
Earlier, his lawyer Tony Nikolic said he had been unable to contact his client before his scheduled Sydney court appearance on Tuesday.
Mr Nikolic said his client’s mother, who has a heart condition, was ‘worried sick’ about her son’s well-being.
A court officer confirmed Pulkownik’s case had been set down for the day and that he was ‘unavailable’ for his court appearance via video link.
‘We’ve made a number of attempts with corrective (services), we knew he was at Surry Hills cells,’ Mr Nikolic said outside court.
‘What was most unfortunate was they were giving us absolutely no information, actually hung up on us. We found that quite astounding given the gravity of the alleged offending.
‘The fact that a lawyer can’t get access to a client at the behest of his mother’s request, his mother is worried sick – she has a heart condition… that’s not only a concern for justice in Australia but also human rights.’
The rally on Saturday moved from Sydney’s Victoria Park to Town Hall where an unmasked crowd broke through a police barrier and continued down George St.
Pulkownik faces four charges for affray, animal cruelty, joining an unlawful assembly and failing to comply with a Covid-19 direction.
The accused approached the mounted policeman during the chaos and allegedly struck the 13-year-old thoroughbred, which emerged uninjured
Troop Horse Tobruk and his trooper Senior Constable Patrick Condon on Monday. Kristian Pulkownik, 33, allegedly struck NSW Police horse Tobruk in the nose
Tobruk pictured recovering in his stable on Saturday evening. The accused allegedly used unlawful violence against the horse and faces four separate charges
Some protesters at Saturday’s rally violently clashed with police, sparking ugly scenes that shocked the nation
Court documents allege the 33-year-old used unlawful violence against Tobruk ‘by conduct such that a person of reasonable firmness if present at the scene would have feared for their safety’.
Greater Sydney has been locked down for the past four weeks, with residents only able to leave home with a reasonable excuse.
The lawyer sought orders allowing for immediate telephone contact with Pulkownik before his next appearance on Thursday where he is expected to apply for bail.