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May 16, 2021

Man charged with video calling for police to be killed labels magistrate ‘corrupt and biased’

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A Kyogle man charged over posting a video online allegedly encouraging people to kill police has accused a magistrate of ‘corruption and bias’.

Keith Knights appeared in Lismore Local Court this week before Magistrate David Heilpern via videolink from Grafton prison.

The 36 year-old ‘sovereign citizen’ was arrested on December 5 after police discovered a 40 minute Facebook video he posted live and shared on several pages on November 29.

During the controversial footage, Mr Knight’s allegedly said people had ‘every right’ to kill police officers and he was mentally ‘at the edge’.

‘It is time to rise up and shut down these drug-dealing cops,’ Mr Knights allegedly says in the video.

‘So when they come for their cut, for their bunch of chemicals, you have every right as free citizens to ambush them and to kill them.’

Following his arrest, Mr Knights was charged with solicit,encourage, persuade to murder, sending a document threatening death or grievous bodily harm and possessing or using a prohibited weapon without a permit.

The three charges came following an investigation by the Fixated Persons Investigation Unit, which was established in April to focus on the detection, intervention and prevention of so-called ‘lone actor’ and ‘fixated person’ threats across the state.

Following his arrest, police searched his property on December 7 and allegedly found a bullet proof vest and a copy of the Jolly Roger’s cookbook, a manual on making homemade explosives.

This week Mr Knight’s solicitor Rachael Thomas applied to the court for Magistrate Heilpern to disqualify himself from the matter.

Interjecting, Mr Knights claimed he had previously accused Mr Heilpern of corruption and bias over his video messages.

Magistrate Heilpern said there was nothing in the facts indicating any apprehension of bias.

He told Mr Knights he had the choice of having his solicitor speak for him or he could speak for himself, but he could not have both options.

Ms Thomas said Mr Knights believed a number of Magistrates were in collusion with police, and requested the matters be adjourned to Tweed Heads Local Court.

Magistrate Heilpern refused the application for adjournment, noting he had previously ruled against Mr Knights over another matter.

‘Just because allegations have been made about court staff that doesn’t entitle him to have the matter dealt by a different court whatsoever,’ he said.

‘The charges are that he persuaded people to murder police officers, and that he threatened to kill member of the NSW Police.’

Magistrate Heilpern ordered the brief of evidence against Mr Knights to be served on the defence by January 29.

Ms Thomas did not apply for bail for Mr Knights which was formally refused.

Mr Heilpern adjourned Mr Knights matters until February 6, at Lismore Local Court.

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