Kyogle man Keith Knights.
Kyogle man Keith Knights.

Man accuses magistrate of 'corruption, bias'

A KYOGLE man who allegedly posted a video encouraging others to kill police has accused an esteemed Lismore magistrate of "corruption and bias".

Keith Knights, 37, appeared in Lismore Local Court via video link yesterday from Grafton prison, where he is being held on remand following his December 5 arrest.

Mr Knights faces one count of solicit, encourage, persuade to murder, and one count of sending a document threatening death or grievous bodily harm in relation to a Facebook video he posted live and shared on several Facebook pages on November 29.

Towards the end of the rambling 40-minute video Mr Knights allegedly said he was mentally "at the edge" and people had "every right" to ambush and kill police officers.

During a search of Mr Knight's Eden Creek property on December 7 police allegedly located a bulletproof vest, and printed copy of a manual known as the Jolly Roger's Cookbook which outlines how to make various rudimentary explosive devices.

In court yesterday, Mr Knights' solicitor Rachael Thomas made an application that Magistrate Heilpern disqualify himself from the matter.

But Magistrate Heilpern said there was "nothing in the facts" that referenced any "apprehension of bias" on the part of the local judiciary.

Arms crossed and brow furrowed, Mr Knights interrupted the proceedings, saying: "I have previously accused you of corruption and bias in regards to my previous matters and that relates to my video messages... in this matter".

Mr Knights allegedly adheres to so-called "sovereign citizen" ideology, and is the director of a bush community called The Klyoogle Project.

Magistrate Heilpern replied: "You've got a lawyer here... she's able to speak on your behalf. You've got a choice, you can have your lawyer speak on your behalf, or you, not both."

Ms Thomas said the facts stated that her client believed "a number of magistrates... are in collusion with police".

She said her client's evidence would refer to Lismore Local Court and staff in a way that could compromise the ability to case manage his matter without a perceived bias. She submitted an application to adjourn the matter to Tweed Heads Local Court.

But Magistrate Heilpern refused to entertain the defence submissions as having any merit at all and refused the application.

He noted he had previously dealt with Mr Knights and made a finding against him.

"Just because allegations have been made about court staff (being corrupt), that doesn't entitle him to have the matter dealt by a different court whatsoever," he said.

"The charges are that he persuaded people to murder police officers, and that he threatened to kill member of the NSW Police."

Magistrate Heilpern adjourned the matter to February 6 to return to Lismore Local Court.

He also ordered the brief to be served on the defence by January 29.

Bail was not applied for and formally refused.

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