National

Bondi hoarders accuse magistrate of bias

By AAP Newswire

In scenes reminiscent of a TV courtroom drama, cries of "objection" have rung out as two well-known Sydney hoarders accused of obstructing police fight their fines in court.

Taking issue with an officer who described their items as rubbish, and the magistrate overseeing the case, Elena and Liana Bobolas on Tuesday repeatedly voiced their disapproval in Downing Centre Local Court.

The sisters are challenging accusations they wilfully obstructed police assisting a two-day council-led clean-up of their property on Boonara Avenue in Bondi in July 2015.

Video shown to the court showed trucks carting away piles of material as police told the siblings and their mother, Mary Bobolas, to stay 10 metres from council workers and the vehicles.

Representing themselves, the Bobolases immediately attempted to have magistrate Jacqueline Trad remove herself from the case due to alleged bias and "prior knowledge" of the sisters.

When that application was dismissed, the sisters moved quickly to their next issue.

"We want the matter to be dismissed (due to) malicious prosecution," Liana said.

The sisters also took issue with the prosecution's brief of evidence not being served on them.

After the magistrate explained it wasn't required for a fine-only offence, the police prosecutor offered to give them a copy, but they replied: "I do not accept service."

Sergeant Richard Faber, the officer who arrested Liana in 2015, told the court trucks reversed into the driveway of the home about the time Liana jumped the gate of the premises and climbed over "rubbish" in the front yard.

"Objection!" Liana said.

"Bias. That's not the term to use."

But that protest was unsuccessful - much like their objections to the court breaking for morning tea, and their attempt to close the court while video of the council clean-up was played.

During cross-examination of Sgt Faber, Elena asked why her sister wasn't arrested at earlier violations of the 10-metre perimeter.

"At that stage, you are on the nature strip side and I had somewhat control," the sergeant replied.

"(Then) your sister has jumped the fence and gone straight to where they are working with ... shovels and whipper snippers."

Repeatedly warned to only ask about relevant matters, the sisters were granted a 20-minute adjournment to compose their questions.

"I am not your legal representative and you have had an opportunity to get legal representation since 2015," Ms Trad told the pair.

But Liana persisted in her cross-examination, asking the police officer to define words on a 2015 court-issued order permitting the property clean-up.

Ms Trad refused the question to be answered.

"You're obstructing me, Magistrate Trad," Liana said.

"Thank you for your opinion and legal expertise on my conduct," came the reply.

Ms Trad eventually reached her limit after Sgt Faber was asked to define "a fence".

"Okay, take a seat," the magistrate said.

"The cross-examination is terminated."

The hearing will resume on Wednesday.