Anti-lockdown protester who ‘harassed a veteran journalist during violent rally’ remains behind bars
A Covid-denying anti-lockdown protester who filmed himself allegedly assaulting a veteran TV journalist remains behind bars.
Guerino Scevola, known as Reno, attended Saturday’s unauthorized protest in Sydney, where he confronted 7 News reporter Robert Ovadia in Chippendale’s Victoria Park, while covering the rally.
Scevola, 54, was arrested after detectives investigating the protest showed up at his home in Petersham in the city’s inner west on Monday evening.
Guerino Scevola (pictured), 54, has been indicted for the incident during Saturday’s anti-lockdown protest in Sydney in which a TV journalist was reportedly assaulted
Ovadia initially tried to ignore the protesters’ attention by looking at his phone
He is charged with affray, two counts of habitual assault, stealing from a person and disobeying a police order – along with possession of a banned drug after detectives reportedly found cannabis in his home.
Scevola appeared in court on Tuesday with his lawyer, brother Salvatore, who acted as his defense and asked for bail.
His brother said Scevola, who has a previous criminal history, including stints in prison, was not a risk to the public.
“I explained to him that he has a lot of problems as a result of his participation in that unauthorized meeting,” he told Magistrate Jennifer Giles. The Daily Telegraph.
He added that he had only gone to the protest because he was “depressed” and “traumatized” by the lockdown.
Mr Scevola claimed there was no evidence that his brother had attacked Mr Ovadia and if he was released he would not participate in another protest scheduled for this weekend.
But Ms Giles was not convinced, saying that most people were affected by the lockdown, but still obeyed the law.
“When you read those facts… what he says is breathtaking, what he does is shameful. It is horrendous behavior that incites violence and crime,” said Ms Giles.
“He’s an uncontrollable danger to the public, so I’m against you on the request for parole.”
A video of the incident uploaded to Facebook shows Mr Ovadia checking his phone in Victoria Park before being approached by a man.
He asks Ovadia if he is a member of the media and who he works for, while the reporter focuses on his phone.
‘Are you one of us, brother? You’re not with the media, are you?’
A man picks up what is believed to be Mr. Ovadia’s phone while the reporter has an altercation with a man in the background
Ovadia then confirmed that he is a journalist covering the protest for Channel Seven.
“Channel Seven is here, boys!” the man shouts as more protesters approach Mr. Ovadia.
“You’re bloody liars, you’re cheaters, you’re lying to Australia,” the man behind the camera tells Mr. Ovadia.
“Bring the right news, mate!” calls another.
The man then repeatedly tells Mr. Ovadia to fuck off.
The reporter appears to be heading for the man before a second person intervenes and a brief altercation ensues.
Another man then appears to run off with Mr. Ovadia’s phone after dropping it during the confrontation.
An enraged Mr. Ovadia took to Facebook after the incident to send a scathing message to his attackers.
“At least dogs have enough persuasiveness to return to their own vomit,” he wrote.
“Some, like the idiot who made this video, run the other way, enslaved by their own cowardice.”
Mr. Ovadia begins to prosecute the man who films him as he is repeatedly abused for covering the event
He also called the man who filmed him ‘ap**sant’ and ‘a little, little man’.
Mr Ovadia confirmed he was fine “after looking down on much fiercer clashes.”
“I’m just really bummed that my phone was stolen — again, by someone running away whose sole reason for wearing a mask was not to protect others, but to protect themselves anonymity.”
“It doesn’t matter, the police will find him and they will also find the Mensa president who made the video.”
State Police Secretary David Elliott commented on the incident at a press conference, calling it an “outrageous attack.”
“Our freedom of movement may be restricted, but our freedom of expression cannot be restricted,” he said.
“It has never been more important for us to have free access to the media, so that the thousands at home can have reliable, up-to-date and credible information.”
Former NSW Police Secretary, Labor MP Michael Daley, also posted: ‘Spare a thought for Channel 7 Sydney’s Robert Ovadia. A respected veteran. Just bring us the news.
“He endured this today, not in a war zone but in the CBD of Sydney. People who imitate things they see abroad.
“Australia is better than this.”
Police have also released descriptions of two other men they believe can assist in their investigation of the incident.
A man has facial hair, was wearing dark pants, a gray hooded sweater, a dark puffer vest, black sneakers and a black cap. He was holding a black school bag.
The second man was wearing black sweatpants, black sneakers, a grey-black hoodie with a light-colored cap and had his face covered.
Detectives have already charged 58 people and handed out 135 fines for the protest.
Scevola was taken into custody to reappear in Newtown District Court on August 17.