Coronavirus: Second anti-lockdown protest organiser facing charges over Auckland rally

Another organiser of the anti-lockdown protest at Auckland Domain on Saturday has been summonsed to court.

Police Superintendent Shanan Gray, the relieving Auckland City district commander, says a 57-year-old man has been summonsed to appear in Auckland District Court next week in relation to organising a mass gathering at the domain. 

"He is due to appear in court next Tuesday, along with a 63-year-old man who was summonsed yesterday," Gray says.

"He will be appearing on charges which relate to Breaching the COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 and Alert Level 3 Order. 

"The Police investigation is continuing and Police cannot rule out further charges or enforcement action against others involved in the event. 

"As enquiries are ongoing, Police are not in a position to comment further at this time."

The 63-year-old man he will be appearing alongside is Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki. Tamaki confirmed in a statement on Tuesday night that he had been visited by two police officers at his home telling him he was to be charged with two offences under the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order.

"I am charged on the basis that I organised a gathering in an outdoor place during alert level 3," he said.

"I am prepared to stand up and be heard when I see injustice and suffering. I am certainly not afraid to do so on any occasion, let alone at this vital time. I will defend my involvement and my right to do so. My community, my people, are too important for me to ignore the pain being caused by the Government's current policies."

Tamaki said he intends to defend these charges because he believes what took place, including his involvement, was "lawful, peaceful, and consistent with everyone's right to freedom of protest".

In his statement, Tamaki said he was surprised by the charges as he had previously met with Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to speak about the event. 

Following the meeting, Coster wrote to Tamaki summarising their discussion. In the letter, provided to Newshub, Coster says Tamaki agreed to "mandate mask-wearing". Despite that, the Freedom and Rights Coalition's website said mask-wearing was a "personal choice". Many who attended the event were not wearing masks.