Ex-council candidate claims she was falsely arrested
IN HEATED courtroom scenes, a magistrate threatened to hold a former Whitsunday council candidate in contempt of court and demanded she show him respect.
Heidi Michelle Ward, who unsuccessfully ran for the Division 2 seat at the 2020 Whitsunday council election, is facing seven charges including assault occasioning bodily harm, assaulting a police officer and obstructing police.
Ms Ward appeared at Proserpine Magistrates Court last week and proceedings began with her lawyer Elizabeth Smith withdrawing from the case as Ms Ward said she could no longer afford her services.
Ms Ward then told the court she was falsely arrested because police did not have her consent to do so.
The Woodwark woman referenced common law, which she said came from the Magna Carta Commonwealth of Australia Constitution, stating "any act of pretence or legislation requires a contract".
"I really don't want to show disrespect in any way, shape or form to your honour," Ms Ward told the court.
"At the time of being detained I clearly stated that I did not consent as the incident that I was being arrested for did not actually happen."
Magistrate James Morton informed Ms Ward she was not in a common law jurisdiction.
But Ms Ward claimed the constitution was the "highest law of the land" and started questioning the magistrate about what law the court operated under.
"You must abide by the highest law of the land. If we continue, it is actually a breach of the Magna Carta of 1215 however under your legislation I will plead not guilty and come back and trial this," Ms Ward said.
"I will note that basically no evidence has been provided that I committed this crime.
"I've asked on several occasions for footage, it's gone missing, it's no longer available.
"I've gone to the CCC, I've gone to everywhere, I've gone to the police I don't know on how many occasions begging for the footage and ironically it's just disappeared."
Ms Ward, 47, claimed taking the case to trial would be a "waste of everyone's time" as there was "too much doubt".
Police prosecutor Sergeant Emma Myors told the court there was watch-house CCTV and bodyworn camera footage, but no footage from the licensed premises involved in the matter.
She said the prosecution wished to call seven witnesses for the trial.
Ms Ward continued questioning Mr Morton on what law and jurisdiction she needed to study to continue her defence.
He told her the court operated under the Summary Offences Act of 2005, told her the Attorney-General appointed him and Queensland laws were upheld in the court.
Ms Ward kept asking questions about the relationship between Queensland law and the Australian Constitution, saying it was "binding in all courts and to all judges".
With a firmer voice, the magistrate then told Ms Ward not to speak over him and said he hoped she was not trying to diminish his ability.
"This is my courtroom and I have the say in what goes on in here, do you understand?" he said.
"That's why I've been appointed by the Attorney-General, do you understand that?"
Mr Morton told Ms Ward he was not obliged to tell her what law she needed to research and questioned whether she was challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
He asked whether she wanted to set the matter down for a legal argument, but Ms Ward said she did not want to argue and had studied four advance diplomas including criminology.
"I'm pleading not guilty but I'm also asking under what law that I need to go away and study in order to come back and represent myself," Ms Ward said.
Ms Ward "cautioned" the magistrate that, if the case proceeded, the court would be denying an article of the Magna Carta.
Mr Morton threatened to hold Ms Ward in contempt of court.
"Ms Ward, I'm going to hold you in contempt of court and I'm going to lock you up in a moment," Mr Morton said.
Ms Ward said she was asking "simple questions" about what law the court ran by.
Mr Morton told her to speak to a lawyer, saying he did not know what she was talking about, to which she replied "obviously".
Mr Morton told her not to be disrespectful.
"You see that thing up on the wall, the coat of arms? You respect that," he said.
"You respect the robe that I wear because I've earnt it, do you understand that?"
Ms Ward's case was set down for trial on October 1.