The man convicted for setting Old Parliament House on fire will serve eight months behind bars.
Nicholas Reed, also known by the name Wareywaa kirlwil Yarrawirri and 32 years old, was found guilty in September of arson.
Reed, in a demonstration on 30 December 2021 used hot coals as a means to ignite a fire outside the Old Parliament House.
Reed hid the fires of the victims from the authorities by carrying several tons of coals.
Reed said at a court hearing held last week that he believed in Indigenous sovereignty, and actively supported others in Canberra who were involved in several weeks of protests late in 2021 or early in 2022.
He claimed that the group was not originally aimed at Old Parliament House but had gathered across the street, in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.
Reed said at the hearing that there was “a change in direction”.
I would have to say that it happened because we were present rather than the opposite.
Reed said that he also regretted any harm done to the Ngambri or Ngunnawal groups and their impact on the work of those people.
His conduct, he said, was “unhonorable”.
Reed’s attorney argued that Reed’s passion for Indigenous rights motivated him at the hearing.
The prosecutor, Soraya S. Saikal Skea, told the court that Reed was guilty of a high level of moral guilt for deliberately lighting the fire.
Saikal Skea: “He wasn’t just another protester”
Justice David Mossop, in the ACT Supreme Court of today, said Reed’s acts had caused “significant damage”.
Justice Mossop stated that a boundary must be kept between “acceptable protests” and “unacceptable ones”.
Reed received a total sentence of 23 months, but he will serve only eight months if he signs an agreement for two years to maintain good behavior upon release.
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