One of Man Haron Monis‘ first court appearances was for charges of using a postal service to harass the families of dead Australian soldiers.
When he faced the Downing Centre Court in Sydney’s CBD on November 10, 2009, he described the letters as condolence cards and flower baskets.
For a timeline of events of the Sydney siege, read this.
He made a dramatic entrance to the courtroom dressed in flowing robes and at times chose to stand at the back of the public gallery.
Monis insisted he sent the letters to encourage the families to lobby the Australian Government to pull out of countries such as Afghanistan.
But in the letters he was abusive and accused the soldiers of being child killers, criminals and murderers.
His lawyer at the time, Chris Murphy, told the court his client was “a peace activist”.
After this first day at the Downing Centre, Monis chained himself to a railing outside holding an Australian flag.
He stayed there the entire day in front of the media holding the flag in one hand and a sign above his head calling for Australian troops to be brought home from overseas.
To find out more about how the Sydney siege unfolded, read this.
He told me he was prepared to stay chained to the railing all night and he almost did. But on this occasion he displayed no signs of violence.
A police van was parked nearby and Monis said police told him they were “there for his protection”.