Tent city mayor’s criminal past

The part-time homeless “mayor” of the tent city in Sydney’s Martin Place has a long criminal history of serious assaults against young women and police, as well as theft, threat and driving offences.

Lanz Priestly has crafted a web of misdirection about almost every part of his life, refusing to answer questions about a business of which he was a director and using a list of aliases across the country. While Mr Priestly says he is 72 years old, police and company records, and a former close friend, say he is 59.

The New Zealand activist, born in May 1958 with the name Rutene Lanceforde Priestly, racked up a criminal record in his home country in the 1970s for theft and attempted burglary ­before he moved to Australia permanently in the 1980s.

Court documents lodged in Queensland for his prior offences describe serious assault of police and a further two counts of ­assaulting police in October 1994 before his behaviour escalated and he almost killed a man with a boat anchor in 1997.

Priestly remained at large for almost 15 years and faced a Queensland court in 2014 where he was convicted and sentenced to prison. In an application for bail in 2014, prosecutors alleged the count of grievous bodily harm happened after a man tried to break up a fight.

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