Kristo Langker, the Friendlyjordies producer who was sensationally arrested by a NSW Police anti-terror squad, has pleaded not guilty to charges of stalking deputy premier John Barilaro.
The 21-year-old Langker made a brief first appearance in Newtown Local Court this morning on largely procedural matters pertaining to the case. However, legal representation for Langker told the court in no uncertain terms that he is pleading not guilty to charges of stalk or intimidate intending to cause fear of physical or mental harm. Those charges stem from two incidents involving Langker, in his capacity as a producer for Friendlyjordies, confronting Barilaro in public settings.
Langker was arrested on June 4th at his home by officers from the NSW Police Fixated Persons Investigations Unit; effectively an anti-terror unit that was set up in the wake of the Lindt Cafe siege and tasked with investigating “lone wolf” extremists. The use of the FPIU in Langker’s arrest has lead many – including this publication – to label the incident a drastic overreach of police powers and a direct threat to press freedoms; one that should be taken very seriously by the media industry as a whole, despite Jordan Shanks‘ frequent (often caustic and personal) online abuse of journalists and media operators.
Today’s hearing also involved petitions by Langker’s legal reps to change his bail conditions, including the removal of a ban on walking past Parliament House in Sydney. Per lawyers, Langker is required to travel past the building in order to attend the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where he is studying.
Police prosecutors also flagged that they will be petitioning the court for a ban on any information contained within the police brief being uploaded to YouTube. However that matter will come before the court at a later date.
After the brief hearing legal firm Xenophon Davis seemingly confirmed that most of the gag orders placed on Langker – one of which prevented him from possessing images of Barilaro or even passing comment on his appearance – have been lifted.
BREAKING. Most of Kristo’s gag orders lifted. Grateful for that. The work on beating the charges lies ahead. pic.twitter.com/WtHjJheSYt
— Xenophon Davis (@xenophondavis) June 24, 2021
Footage of the arrest captured by members of Langkar’s family was uploaded to the Friendlyjordies YouTube channel last week. However, Shanks has not uploaded a video since then, and has, for the most part, remained quiet on social media.
The case is now scheduled to be heard at the Downing Centre Local court next Wednesday.