A Queensland man accused of sending death threats to the state’s Premier and Chief Health Officer last year allegedly did so due to coronavirus restrictions and being unable to attend a funeral.
Sunshine Coast resident Alexander Dietmar Willer, 70, is facing three charges – two of threats to kill and one for stalking.
He is accused of sending death threats via letters to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young in September.
After the matter was mentioned in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Friday, defence lawyer Belinda Robinson told the media that her client had not indicated his intended plea.
She said the charges related to funeral restrictions that were in place during the pandemic and that the matter would need to be moved to the District Court.
“They are serious charges. Unfortunately, I am not able to comment on [Mr Willer’s] position,” Ms Robinson said.
“It is rare to come across these charges; I did see there was another similar charge recently in 2020 on the Gold Coast.
“These charges differ slightly because the Gold Coast matter was by telephone, so the charge is slightly different – our charge is threat to kill, and that charge was threatening using a carriage service.
“But it is interesting to note that they were both due to COVID-19 restrictions.”
Ms Robinson said these facts would be raised in court regardless of her client’s plea.
“It certainly will be explained in court either way if this goes to trial or sentence,” she said.
“It definitely will be made known to the court that that was the context, yes.”
Ms Robinson said Mr Willer was “out in the community and doing well” and her law firm was not concerned with media attention “prejudicing” the case.
“It is the fact that high-profile cases are more subject to an amount of prejudice, if you like,” she said.
“But we don’t have any concerns about that at this stage.”
Mr Willer’s bail was enlarged and the matter was adjourned until February 19.