Federal Court strikes out anti-vax trial

A group of anti-vaxxers who sued the Commonwealth, Victorian, NSW, Queensland, Northern Territory, WA and Tasmanian governments over lockdown and vaccine mandates have had their case struck out by the Federal Court.

An anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne last year. Photo: AAP/Scott Barbour

An anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne last year. Photo: AAP/Scott Barbour

On Monday, Justice Debra Mortimer found the litigation was an abuse of process and had no reasonable prospects of success.

“The allegations do not justify a trial,” she stated in her judgment.

Monica Smit, the manager of Reignite Democracy Australia, was also removed as plaintiff and replaced by Instagram influencer Cienna Knowles and Mikailah Lehmann, Serafine Nichols and Alison Zerk.

Smit is on bail after previously pleading not guilty in Melbourne Magistrates Court to two charges of incitement.

It’s alleged Smit encouraged more than 180,000 social media followers to break Melbourne’s lockdown rules by attending a protest in the CBD.

About 90 people attended an August 2021 protest, and around 4000 at a second 10 days later.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Deborah Friedman and epidemiologist Professor Benjamin Cowie were also removed as respondents to the Federal Court case on Monday.

Costs were awarded by way of fixed lump sum with the court to hear the parties separately on the question of costs.


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