TikTok Covid cases comedian appears in court over Sydney anti-lockdown protest speech
Australia’s ‘Covid numbers TikTok man’ finally has his day in court over anti-lockdown protest speech – as police say he should be punished
- TikTok comedian faces trial for attendance at anti-lockdown protest last July
- Pleaded guilty to two charges for leaving home without a reasonable excuse
- Jon-Bernard Kairouz will fight the third indictment encouraging the commission of crimes
A TikTok comedian who addressed an anti-lockdown protest against Covid-19 in Sydney is fighting charges that he encouraged the group to commit a crime.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz, 25, was facing three charges in Downing Center local court on Wednesday for breaching public health law for attending a public protest on July 24, 2021.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of being away from his hometown without a reasonable excuse, and participating in a public rally as Greater Sydney was plunged into a harsh lockdown due to the rapid spread of Covid-19.
The comedian is fighting a third charge of encouraging the commission of crimes after delivering a megaphone speech from the steps of Sydney City Hall.
An estimated crowd of about 3,500 people had gathered, the court was told.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz (pictured) pleaded guilty to two charges when he appeared before a Sydney court on Wednesday. He plans to fight a third charge
The online entertainer went viral on TikTok, seeing his following surge at the height of the Sydney pandemic after correctly reporting how many cases NSW would announce hours before they were reported.
Kairouz claimed at the time that he had no internal government source, but mathematically predicted the numbers.
On Wednesday, his attorney Daniel Grippi said his client’s pleas to the first two charges should quash the third charge, as the meeting had a common goal for all.
“And he is gathering for individuals, the same individuals whom the prosecution alleges then encourages him to commit a crime of assembly,” Mr Grippi said.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz (pictured holding a megaphone at the rally) addressed thousands on the steps of Sydney City Hall during an anti-lockdown protest last July
Prosecutor Michael Cleaver insisted on the charges, saying his offense included “the way[the words]were conveyed, through the behavior and physical actions, and the circumstances in which he speaks to the audience through a loudspeaker.”
He said Magistrate Emma Manea should punish someone who allegedly encourages others to commit a crime while in violation of public health order.
The hearing continues.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz rose to fame during the Sydney lockdown for correctly guessing the number of Covid cases NSW had each day