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Man accused of beating a horse during anti-lockdown protest pleads NOT guilty

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Man accused of beating a horse during anti-lockdown protest pleads NOT guilty – alleging it was a method of ‘self-defense’

  • Kristian Pulkownik, 33, will plead not guilty to beating a NSW police horse
  • He allegedly punched Tobruk at a ‘freedom’ rally in Sydney in July – sparking outrage
  • His lawyer confirmed his pleas in a letter to the Sydney Downing Court on Wednesday
  • Mr Pulkovnik will return to court next year for a controversial two-day hearing










A man accused of beating a police horse during an anti-lockdown protest in Sydney has pleaded not guilty.

Kristian Pulkownik, 33, reportedly punched NSW police horse Tobruk in the nose as his rider led thousands of protesters marching in the city’s CBD in July as part of the ‘Rally 4 Freedom march’.

Pulkownik was charged with animal cruelty after photos of him allegedly hitting Tobruk circulated on social media, sparking outrage.

He is also charged with arguing, participating in an illegal meeting and failing to comply with a Covid-19 directive.

Defense attorney Tony Nikolic sent an email to the local court at Downing Center in Sydney on Wednesday, confirming that his client, who did not attend the hearing, would plead not guilty to all charges.

Kristian Pulkownik, 33, (pictured) will plead not guilty to punching NSW police horse Tobruk in the face during an anti-lockdown protest in Sydney in July

The court heard earlier that Mr Pulkownik will argue that he acted in “self-defense” when he allegedly beat the animal.

He will return to court next year for a two-day trial during which six witnesses to the prosecution will be called.

A police representative acknowledged that there was “significant community and media interest” in the case, which could add to its complexity.

Footage of Mr Pulkownik was broadcast and widely condemned across Australia after he was photographed wearing a yellow shirt with ‘FREE SPEECH’ printed on the front as he allegedly punched Tobruk.

He was arrested at his home in Surry Hills the night after the protest and faced a series of charges, including violating Covid-19 restrictions to attend the rally.

Last month, his attorney Chris O’Donnell told the court that Mr Pulkownik was in fact distracting the horse from him and that he had no intention of harming the animal.

“You can see in the video, in my respectful entry, that there is a live issue of whether the accused hit a horse,” O’Donnell said.

“On the contrary, he was fending off the horse as it came toward him at the time.”

Mr Pulkownik was released on bail last month after spending two and a half weeks at Parklea Correctional Center.

His bail application was postponed after he refused to undergo a Covid test with his lawyer because his asthma put him at risk of ‘side effects’ on the nasal swab. He was then placed in isolation for 14 days.

The alleged act of animal cruelty sparked widespread outrage after photos of Pulkownik allegedly assaulting Tobruk were posted online.  Pictured: Tobruk and his trooper Senior Constable Patrick Condon

The alleged act of animal cruelty sparked widespread outrage after photos of Pulkownik allegedly assaulting Tobruk were posted online. Pictured: Tobruk and his trooper Senior Constable Patrick Condon

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