Footage captures the moment Liz Gunn and cameraman were arrested at Auckland Airport

First published in New Zealand Herald

By george blockNew Zealand Herald

Video footage has emerged of the dramatic arrest of anti-vaccine activist Liz Gunn at Auckland International Airport last year.

It comes after a judge yesterday found Gunn guilty of assault following a rocky trial of the former TVNZ presenter.

Gunn and his cameraman Jonathan Clark were at the international arrivals terminal on February 25 last year to film the arrival of a family who had been kept in lockdown in Tokelau after refusing the Covid-19 vaccine.

The images show the moment when two police officers approach the couple and proceed to arrest them in the middle of the busy terminal.

One of the officers appears to attempt to put Gunn in a headlock before she falls to the ground, while the other officer is seen carrying Clark to the ground before handcuffing him. The two officers then take the couple away.

Judge Haney Forrest yesterday found Gunn and Clark not guilty of resisting police.

Liz Gunn found guilty of assault

A packed audience of supporters at Manukau District Court applauded as the not guilty verdicts were read on Tuesday.

They expressed their dismay when the guilty verdict was handed down, shouting “shame” and “disgust” as the judge left.

Gunn and her lawyer Matthew Hague claimed she had simply touched the security worker’s arm to get his attention, a defense rejected by Judge Forrest.

In a written judgment published after the hearing, Judge Forrest described it as a “hostile act”.

“In summary, Ms. Gunn was arrogant, rude, overbearing and offensive in her manner with the plaintiff,” the ruling said.

Judge Forrest rejected Hague’s defense that Gunn had implied he had consented to touching Auckland airport security worker Anna Kolodeznaya on the arm.

“On the contrary, he acted with complete and utter disregard for social norms and for Ms. Kolodeznaya.”

Hague indicated he intended to apply for release without conviction at the time of sentencing. Common assault under the Summary Offenses Act carries a maximum prison sentence of six months or a fine of up to $4,000.

Gunn declined to comment to media outside court. Clark described the verdict as “deeply unfair.”

He reiterated the defense’s position that Gunn had simply punched the Auckland airport security worker on the arm, rather than grabbing her forcefully as the prosecution alleged.

Gunn was charged with assault, resisting arrest and criminal trespass following the altercation at Auckland Airport’s international arrivals terminal.

Clark was charged only with resisting arrest and criminal trespass.

The couple defended the charges during a colorful judge-only trial held over two days earlier this month.

During the trial, Judge Forrest dismissed the charge of intentional trespass against the couple.

New Zealand Herald