Sue Grey, a Nelson-based lawyer and co-leader of the Outdoors and Freedom Party is in custody after a judge removed her from the Nelson District Court for contempt this morning.
A hearing will be held this afternoon where Grey will appear before the court.
It is understood that Grey was in court supporting Nelson man Kelvin McKenny, who was facing trial on alcohol license-related charges.
Judge Tony Zohrab ordered her to be removed from court, reportedly after ongoing disruption.
She was escorted from court by security, while the public gallery was cleared, a witness said.
McKenny represented himself and took a large contingent of supporters to court along with him, including a dog and a goat. Some remain gathered outside the courthouse, awaiting news about Grey.
Grey is an anti-vaccination campaigner, subscribing to a catalogue of conspiracies surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s response. Prior to the pandemic, she was an ardent protester against 5G technology and pesticide 1080.
Still a registered lawyer, last week Grey represented the parents of Baby W in the High Court in Auckland as they fought to use unvaccinated blood for their unwell child’s heart surgery. The case was covered internationally.
As well as her legal work, Grey co-leads the Outdoors and Freedom Party. She ran in the Tauranga by-election in June, garnering just under 5 percent of all votes. Since then, all major polls this year have placed the party below 0.5 percent.
Under the Contempt of Court Act, a judge can hold a person in custody for no longer than the end of the day, if they deem the person was disrupting the court.
The judge must then allow for a hearing on the same day where the matter can be resolved or set down for a later date. The judge has the statutory authority to sentence the person to a maximum of three months imprisonment, a $10,000 fine, or 200 hours of community work.
– Additional reporting Tracy Neal
* This story originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald.