Article Source: TheGuardian.com – AAP
Police have dropped all charges against Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker after accusing him of stalking former New South Wales deputy premier John Barilaro.
Langker, 22, was arrested at his home in June last year after an investigation into alleged stalking by NSW police’s fixated persons investigation unit.
He was charged with four counts of stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear or physical harm and a hearing was set down for May this year.
But on Thursday in the Downing Centre local court, magistrate Susan McIntyre ordered NSW police to pay costs of $12,000 to Langker’s lawyer Mark Davis.
Davis confirmed his client was considering all his legal options after authorities dropped the charges with no explanation.
“He suffered enormous damage to his reputation. It’s not a nice thing to be called a stalker when it’s utterly untrue,” he told AAP.
He alleged Langker’s mother and girlfriend were both assaulted in the course of the arrest.
“All options are being considered now.”
Video footage of Langker’s arrest uploaded to YouTube includes a period of commotion in which the camera is lowered, and his mother can be heard exclaiming she was knocked over and that a police officer had assaulted her.
A police officer can be heard in the video denying that accusation, saying he tripped over.
Police have previously declined to comment on the assault allegation.
Davis said while his client was delighted on Thursday with the result, he was also lucky.
“It’s disturbing to reflect that if Kristo hadn’t filmed it, if he didn’t have the resources of a legal team, he would likely be marching forward to a conviction.”
The criminal case against the YouTube channel producer formed part of a larger spat between his boss Shanks and Barilaro, the former NSW Nationals leader, who sued Shanks separately in the federal court for defamation.
In November Barilaro received an apology but no damages when the lawsuit was settled. The defamation suit was over two videos titled bruz and Secret Dictatorship, which were published to Shanks’s YouTube channel in 2020.
In the criminal case, officers had alleged Langker intimidated or stalked the then-deputy premier in 2021 on two occasions, at Macquarie University on 19 April and in Sydney on 4 June.
Asked why he didn’t like Barilaro, Langker said outside court last year it wasn’t about liking him.
“It’s about doing journalism,” he told reporters.