Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki's High Court appeal over custody decision looms

Brian Tamaki, pictured with his wife Hannah Tamaki, as he was being arrested on Monday last week....
Brian Tamaki, pictured with his wife Hannah Tamaki, as he was being arrested on Monday last week. Photo: David Fisher
Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki's appeal against a judge's decision to remand him in custody will take place at the High Court in Auckland tomorrow - a day before his breach of bail hearing is expected to follow at Auckland District Court.

Tamaki has been in Mt Eden Prison since being arrested at his Auckland home on Monday last week for allegedly breaching his bail conditions by speaking at a January anti-vaccine rally in Christchurch attended by more than 100 people - more than allowed under the Covid-19 traffic light system.

Judge Evangelos Thomas remanded the high-profile church leader in custody until his next court appearance on January 27, a decision Tamaki immediately filed an appeal against.

The 63-year-old's lawyer Ron Mansfield confirmed today the appeal would take place at the High Court in Auckland tomorrow morning.

In a statement through his lawyers, Tamaki, who is facing five active charges relating to allegedly breaching Covid-19 lockdown restrictions by attending Auckland Domain lockdown protests, and breaching bail, said last Monday he'd "defend what is alleged when permitted".

"It is not accepted that he should have been remanded in custody and any longer period on remand will be challenged vigorously."

He has already pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Tamaki believed in the "value of the rule of law" and was disappointed by those to "seek to silence him".

"It is a sad day for the freedom of all New Zealanders when people cannot gather and be heard in opposition to government policy when they believe it to be wrong and contrary to the good of the people," he said.

The breach of bail hearing is expected to take place on Thursday at Auckland District Court, but Mansfield told the Herald he's still awaiting final confirmation in case the hearing is affected by the country's move to the Covid-19 red light setting on Sunday night.

He declined to comment when asked how his client was doing.

However, Tamaki's wife, Hannah Tamaki, posted on Facebook yesterday that "my darling is doing good".

"He has his Bible, doing lots of study, can't wait to have him home. Thank you all, you beautiful people for your support and for dropping down to hang with us at Mt Eden correction [sic] facility.. your kind words & prayers."

Tamaki has been on remand at Mt Eden Prison, where he was likely separated from other inmates for 14 days and routinely tested for Covid-19, along with all newly arrived prisoners at the corrections facility.

He also won't have been allowed face-to-face visits from family or friends, or his legal representation, while in custody.

On Thursday night, Tamaki's supporters barricaded the entrance of Mt Eden Prison in a standoff with prison officials over claims of hygiene products being withheld.

A Facebook live video showed a group of Destiny Church followers lined up across the entrance to the facility, linking arms and blocking vehicles from entering or exiting the site.

After a few hours of negotiation between Tamaki's son-in-law Caine Warren and police and prison officials, the situation was resolved and the group disbanded.

Supporters of Tamaki set up camp outside the prison following his incarceration and by Friday Epsom MP David Seymour was calling for the church leader to be moved to Spring Hill Prison, so his "pilgrims" could protest away from where they're disrupting others.

Neighbours had told him the protest site was "a riot" at night and he could see why people felt intimidated after visiting himself, Seymour said.

They'd gone to great efforts to meet with the police every day and maintain healthy communication during the church leader's time in prison, Tamaki's supporters said in a statement.

Destiny Church-aligned Freedoms & Rights Coalition later released a statement on social media accusing Seymour of being aggressive towards Hannah Tamaki.

Seymour denied the claims and said he was speaking to the group on behalf of a constituent.

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