Alleged police stalker fails in bail bid
A 71-year-old Ipswich disability pensioner has failed in a bid for bail as he faces charges of stalking three police officers and a senior court officer online.
Russell Gordon Haig Mathews, from Booval, appeared from jail via video-link before Ipswich Magistrates Court on Wednesday to make his application, citing his fear of catching COVID-19 while on remand.
Mathews is charged with unlawfully stalking a senior court registrar between January 1 and February 2 this year; three charges of stalking police; contravening an order about electronically stored information; and failing to appear at court on December 11 last year.
Mathews is defending the charges based on his held belief that he was exercising his right to freedom of political communication.
The court heard of legal concerns that with 92 days already spent in custody, Mathews may be at risk of spending too much time in jail even if convicted of the charges.
Mathews indicated that he would not be willing to comply with any court-imposed bail conditions that would prevent him from accessing the online Haig Report that he manages.
He was back before Magistrate David Shepherd a week after complaining it was very difficult for him to defend his case while being held in jail.
DPP legal officer Andreas Galloway said the Crown prosecution case was still waiting for statements from Telstra regarding the telephone communications of Mathews, and this process would likely take another five weeks.
Mr Galloway said that while bail conditions could be put in place, there was a question over whether Mathews would comply.
He noted there had been occasions where Mathews phoned the court instead of attending in person.
"Can I say something. I have brain damage and I have a fear of contracting COVID-19," Mathews said.
"I want a vaccine as soon as possible. I'm over 70 now. I can't get it (the vaccine) in here."
Mr Galloway said the potential risk of reoffending was noted by another Ipswich magistrate in that Mathews considers himself to be "a target of a Catholic mafia".
"That he considers himself subject to a conspiracy or that there is corruption in a system against him", he said.
Magistrate Shepherd said he could impose bail conditions restricting his internet use.
Mathews objected, saying he planned to use Google.
He assured the court of his intention to organise a lawyer if released.
Mr Shepherd told Mathews he was considering imposing a condition that he does not use or access the online 'Haig Report' or publish anything on the website.
Mathews replied that he would be looking at publishing something about Corrective Services on the Haig Report.
"And I want to be able to deal with solicitors, legal people by the internet," he said.
"I've got to appeal two other legal sentences."
Mr Shepherd told Mathews he would not be able to use the Haig Report at all, saying: "You just couldn't use it".
"I can look at it?" said Mathews.
"No. You cannot access, publish or remove anything from the website. And not set up or contribute to other websites, to make comments about other persons," Mr Shepherd said.
After further discussion of the matter Mr Shepherd said he came to the view that bail conditions would not sufficiently ameliorate the risk.
He noted that the four alleged victims of the stalking charges had items about them on the Haig Report website, and that Mathews had now indicated his intention to post material about public officers within Corrective Services.
He found there was a risk of Mathews not complying with bail conditions and bail would be refused.
Mathews was remanded in custody to appear before the court on June 16.
Mathews protested, saying "with my disability I need to Google stuff."