A couple charged over a protest against the old parliament have been released on bail at the ACT Magistrates Court

Two men involved in the ongoing protests in the Canberra Parliamentary area were released on bail at the ACT Magistrates Court today.

Bruce Shillingsworth Jnr, 30, and Dylan Wilson, 38, appeared in court on charges relating to a fire in the Old Houses of Parliament on December 30 and other related charges.

Mr Shillingsworth Jnr, who was identified in court as one of the leaders of the protest, pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting arson, assaulting a first class community service provider line, of defacing public property, of resisting a Territory official, and of aiding and abetting damage to the Commonwealth. property.

Police allege he helped another man, Nicholas Reed, set the building on fire by pushing people out of Mr Reed’s path and directing him as he carried hot coals to the building’s front porch.

Mr Reed, 30, appeared in court last week on charges of arson.

Police documents say Mr Shillingsworth Jnr pointed Mr Reed to a sofa which stood outside the doors and asked protesters to help him move it, clearing the way to the front door.

In court today, Magistrate Beth Campbell noted that Mr Shillingsworth Jnr appeared to be ‘one of the ringleaders’ of the protests based outside the Old Houses of Parliament, but had no relevant criminal history .

She granted him bail on the condition that he leave the ACT to reside in Sydney, report to police every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, not enter the suburb of Parkes – which includes the parliamentary area of ​​Canberra – with the exception of a visit in the presence of a police officer, did not contact Mr. Reed and did not post any content on social media about the protests.

The fire damaged the entrance to the Old Parliament on December 30.(PA: Lukas Coch)

Mr Shillingsworth Jnr agreed to the terms.

A number of protesters were present in court today, including the father of Mr Shillingsworth Jnr – an Indigenous climate activist also named Bruce Shillingsworth.

The group initially attempted to represent Mr Shillingsworth Jnr and repeatedly halted proceedings.

“You are not appearing in my court at this time, please be quiet,” Magistrate Campbell told protesters.

As Mr Shillingsworth Jnr agreed to his bail conditions, his father shouted ‘you are signing a contract’.

“Can the crowd in the back be quiet, please,” his son replied.

“This is my first night in a cell, I don’t want this for anyone else.”

Mr Shillingsworth Snr walked out of court after his son agreed to bail conditions.

Magistrate Campbell said that in granting bail to Mr Shillingsworth Jnr she was counting on him to stay true to his word.

“I’m a little worried about those who might influence you otherwise,” she said.

Police ‘failed to produce evidence’, magistrate says

A man holding a baseball cap in an evidence bag.
Dylan Wilson was released on bail today, charged in connection with the fire.(ABC News)

Dylan Wilson, from Lindendale in New South Wales, was also released on bail today after Magistrate Campbell found police failed to produce relevant evidence in relation to new charges.

“How can I possibly refuse bail when there is no fact before me?” the magistrate told the court.

Mr Wilson was facing charges of assaulting a member of frontline community services, trespassing on premises, failing to follow directions and resisting a territory official.

He intervened several times during the hearing, saying that the court had no authority over him.

“You are illegally detaining me in a kangaroo system,” he said at one point.

As part of his bail conditions, Mr Wilson is not allowed to be in the suburb of Parkes.

He had previously breached this condition and Magistrate Campbell warned him that if he did so again he would be detained.

Both men will be tried next month.

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