Rachel Fieldhouse


Man who threatened to kill Jacinda Ardern causes stir in court

Man who threatened to kill Jacinda Ardern causes stir in court

A man who threatened to kill New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made claims he had been “kidnapped” by police and illegally detained during an outburst in court.

Richard Trevor Sivell was arrested at a rural property in Te Puke, in the Western Bay of Plenty on the North Island, which is owned by the Ministry of Education.

He claimed he owned the property through “allodial title”, an archaic law meaning that the property had no owner.

His arrest was filmed by his supporters and shared online and later re-shared by anti-conspiracy theorist groups on social media.

He was later charged with three offences, including intentionally obstructing a police officer during the arrest, failing to comply with police, and threatening to kill.

The details of the threatening to kill charge have been suppressed and cannot be reported, per the NZ Herald

Mr Sivell went on to appear before the Tauranga District Court on Monday, where he repeatedly chose to stand in the public gallery and refused to enter the dock when instructed by Judge Thomas Ingram.

Prior to his appearance in the courtroom, Mr Sivell arrived with a Bible and a one-page document which he called a “counterclaim”, as reported by Stuff.

After presenting the document to the court office, he sat in the courtroom, maskless, and asked to be referred to by his first name rather than his last name by the judge.

When he still refused to go beyond the public gallery, two police officers and a court security officer forcibly moved him to the dock - a distance of about 10 metres - and even carried him by the arms and legs at one stage. After continuing to resist the officers, Mr Sivell was pinned to the ground and handcuffed, at which point he accused the officers of assaulting him.

“I’m a man of peace, stop assaulting me, I haven’t done anything, I haven’t broken the law. You guys are traumatising me again,” he said.

When he was in the dock, Judge Ingram asked if he wanted a few minutes to catch his breath.

“I appreciate this is not a lot of fun for you,” the judge said. “You certainly will be somewhat traumatised … by what’s occurred.”

Mr Sivell then asked if the judge had received “the data”, to which Judge Ingram replied, “I’ve seen a piece of paper from you, yes.”

“Without receiving the data we can’t proceed, your honour,” Mr Sivell replied.

Judge Ingram said: "You can parrot that as much as you want Mr Sivell, but I'm going to proceed with the matter on the basis that the law of the land applies to you as it applies to everybody else."

After refusing to acknowledge the judge's questions, the case was adjourned for half an hour. 

When he reappeared, he continued to refuse to speak, even when asked whether he wanted legal representation.

"I'm a man of peace, I'm here under duress. I've been assaulted and kidnapped," Mr Sivell said.

The case was then adjourned for two weeks, and Mr Sivell was remanded on bail on the condition that he made no contact with Ms Ardern or used a device capable of connecting to the internet.

Threats appeared on Telegram

Mr Sivell tracked the arrival of police through a series of posts on Telegram - the encrypted messaging app which has become home to conspiracy theorists and Nazi sympathisers.

According to the NZHerald, Mr Sivell used the same account to post what could be considered as threats to kill Ms Ardern and several journalists.

“They are going to die. We are not going to allow them to share this world with us anymore,” Mr Sivell said in an audio message posted to the Counterspin channel on Telegram. “Same as Jacinda. She is going to die. Execute these motherf***ers. I look forward to hearing their necks snap.”

Fake journalists and accusations of communism

Outside the court, Mr Sivell was met by his supporters, as well as members of the public posing as journalists.

One of the 'journalists' interviewed Mr Sivell, who said New Zealand was becoming a "communist police state" and accused Ms Ardern of being a communist.

He said those responsible for the vaccination program, which he described as a "bioweapon", should be held accountable under "Nuremberg law".

Image: Getty Images

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