Prominent anti-lockdown ringleader, Solihin Millin, contests incitement charges over protests

Solihin Millin is contesting incitement charges for his alleged involvement in a “Freedom” rally, arguing stay-at-home-orders in place were based on invalid advice.

Hundreds of people converged on central Melbourne to protest against the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and called for the resignation of Premier Daniel Andrews.

A notorious anti-vaxxer accused of inciting others to protest during Victoria’s second lockdown has continued to challenge the legality of the allegations against him.

Prominent anti-lockdown ringleader, Solihin Millin, 78, is contesting incitement charges for his alleged involvement in organising a “Freedom” rally in 2020, arguing the stay-at-home-orders in place at the time were based on invalid health advice.

At Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, Millin’s defence barrister, Suabe Nayel, questioned whether Covid-19 posed a “serious risk” to public health. 

Solihin Millin is the founder of anti-vax group ‘Make Australia Healthy Again’.

In documents tendered to the court, Mr Nayel argued Covid was akin to a mild flu, comorbidities artificially inflated deaths and case numbers that triggered lockdowns were likely asymptomatic false positives.

He argued the health advice on which the stay-at-home-orders were made was invalid, which in turn, called into question the legality of allegations against his client.

“The directions must be lawfully made, they must be valid before the accused can answer them before the court,” he said.

But Magistrate Kieran Gilligan disagreed and said he didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on the validity of lockdown orders, just whether the charges against Mr Millin were proven.

“That’s political, I’m not dealing with political issues,” Magistrate Gilligan said.

“The question of the legality of these directions … it’s not for the purpose of these proceedings.”

Mr Nayel sought a court order requiring prosecutors to hand over the health advice as evidence to substantiate the legality of the stay-at-home orders.

Protesters marching down Bourke Street Mall. Picture: David Crosling

Police at the Freedom Rally as protesters march at Parliament House. Picture: Brendan Beckett

But prosecutors argued they weren’t in possession of the requested material nor was it needed to prove the allegations against Mr Millin.

Magistrate Gilligan noted the defence submitted news reports including articles written in foreign languages.

“The Manila Times you’ve referred to, what am I to make of that?” he said.

“The Italy 24 Hour news, I don’t think that would be reliable.”

But Mr Nayel argued the sources were reputable and supported his case.

Mr Millin, who is a retired pensioner, is the founder of anti-vax group ‘Make Australia Healthy Again’ and posted online that Covid-19 was “not a scientifically defined disease”.

He previously sought to have the matter heard in the High Court, arguing he had a “constitutional” defence but his application was rejected.

Magistrate Gilligan said he would wait until a ruling was made at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal relating to a similar case before he made any rulings.

The matter will return to court on July 15.

8Jun2022, HS

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