The man accused of trashing former Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s electoral office has been granted more time to seek legal advice, before telling reporters outside court that Labor’s vaccine mandates had “smashed up” people’s lives.
Paul Anthony Holland is accused of vandalising the Fannie Bay electorate office in July
He told the court he intended to plead guilty but was encouraged to seek legal advice
Mr Holland is on bail and will return to court in January
Paul Anthony Holland was charged with damage to property, unlawful entry and being armed with an offensive weapon, after allegedly breaking into the office in Fannie Bay days after Mr Gunner quit politics in July 2022.
Mr Holland told the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday he was representing himself and intended to plead guilty to the charges, but Judge John Neill encouraged him to “re-think” his decision.
“You’re charged with damage to property, that invokes mandatory sentencing,” said Judge Neill.
“But there are options and if you have a lawyer, it’s possible that lawyer could assist you with achieving those options.”
Mr Holland is currently on bail and the court heard he was also facing an alleged breach of a suspended sentence.
“There are principles which determine whether I restore all, or part, or none of that sentence … and a lawyer is the right person to talk to about that,” said Judge Neill.
“Don’t sell yourself short Mr Holland, there may be good arguments available to you … take the chance and talk to a lawyer.”
Mr Holland agreed to seek Legal Aid, before his case was adjourned for three weeks.
Outside court, the 47-year-old addressed the media, claiming that “Michael Gunner, [Health Minister] Natasha Fyles, [former Chief Health Officer] Hugh Heggie and the NT Labor Party smashed up thousands of Territorians’ lives with these evil mandates.”
During the height of the pandemic, the NT government mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for the vast majority of workers as part of efforts to reduce the impact of the virus on the Northern Territory.
Mr Gunner quit politics earlier this year following the birth of his second child.
Former Health Minister Natasha Fyles replaced him as Chief Minister.
The matter will return to court in January.