Court Drew Pavlou
Court Drew Pavlou

‘It’s an ambush’: Pavlou claims China court interference

University activist turned alleged enemy of China, Drew Pavlou, claims he has been "ambushed" by the communist government in an attempt to bar him from having his day in court.

Mr Pavlou was today asking a Queensland court to grant a peace and good behaviour application against China's most senior representative in Queensland, Xu Jie.

The legal action kicked off after Mr Pavlou was the organiser of demonstrations at the University of Queensland in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and claims Dr Jie labelled him a "separatist" in an online post.

The application under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act includes a demand for an apology and a retraction of comments posted to the Consul-General's website.

But for the second time, Dr Jie or his legal representatives did not show to the hearing in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Activist Drew Pavlou at Brisbane Magistrate's Court on Friday. Picture: Tara Croser
Activist Drew Pavlou at Brisbane Magistrate's Court on Friday. Picture: Tara Croser

A document penned by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) was lodged with the court, which discussed whether the court had jurisdiction to hear the matter because of the legal protections afforded to consular officials.

Solicitor Mark Tarrant said he had not been provided with the document and asked for an adjournment of the case, claiming he had been "ambushed".

"It's an ambush. We were ambushed previously. This is the first we've heard of it," he said.

But Magistrate Janelle Brassington said the issue of jurisdiction was not new to the case and there were a number of legal protections for consular officials like Dr Jie.

Magistrate Brassington said it was up to a court to determine what privileges and immunities would be afforded to Dr Jie but added Mr Tarrant's submissions on the question of jurisdiction were at this stage "fundamentally flawed".

She allowed the matter to be adjourned, saying if it had been heard today the application would fail, even though everything Mr Pavlou thinks "may well be correct".

Activist Drew Pavlou at Brisbane Magistrate's Court on Friday. Picture: Tara Croser
Activist Drew Pavlou at Brisbane Magistrate's Court on Friday. Picture: Tara Croser

Outside court Pavlou, 20, claimed representatives of the Chinese Government were sent to spy on the case and identify his Hong Kong supporters.

"The Chinese Government is not a government that respects the Australian legal system," he said.

"It did send a man from the consulate to watch proceedings and identify the Hong Kongers here today because, again, they like to intimidate Hong Kongers... but they have not provided legal representation. They have not sent a legal representative to court because they don't respect the magistrate and they don't respect the court.

"What they have done is they've prepared an ambush. They've prepared this document for the court. They sent this document on the court, but they did not serve it on us. It was a total ambush... we have not been able to mount an effective defence... "

The matter was adjourned until August 10, to allow Mr Tarrant time to consider the material provided by DFAT.

Mr Pavlou has been suspended from UQ for a semester after what the university termed "serious misconduct".

The allegations involved a satirical stunt in which he posed outside the office of vice-chancellor Peter Hoj wearing a Hazmat suit and online abuse of a fellow student.

Originally published as 'It's an ambush': Pavlou claims China court interference