July 8, 2021
A Tingoora woman who allegedly declared war on a South Burnett councillor, promising to ruin him, was refused bail when she appeared in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon.
Judith Ann Schulz, 57, was formerly Cr Scott Henschen’s campaign manager.
In May, she was charged with two counts of extortion and one count of unlawful stalking. She was released on bail on strict conditions.
Ms Schulz appeared in court on Thursday to face charges of breaching those bail conditions plus a new charge of stalking.
It was alleged Ms Schulz breached bail four times on social media posts and once by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), both actions prohibited by her conditions.
The court was told Ms Schulz sent emails to media organisations, police, politicians, the courthouse, the mayor and other people.
Duty solicitor Mark Werner applied for bail on Ms Schulz’s behalf, saying she was unlikely to spend actual time in custody if found guilty of the offences.
Mr Werner said VPN software had been downloaded on to her laptop but had not been initialised, and said the emails were sent in a bid to find witnesses to support her defence of the original stalking charge.
She had not contacted Cr Henschen or any witnesses.
“What we seem to be looking at is an over-arching situation whereby there is an original charge which is contested, somebody who was not legally represented, somebody who does have mental health issues that has gone about trying to mount a defence in not the best way,” Mr Werner said.
He suggested there had been some “misguided behaviour” but not enough to hold her in custody.
Opposing bail, police prosecutor Sergeant Pepe Gangemi alleged Ms Schulz had used undisclosed Twitter and Instagram accounts to contact people in June and July.
He alleged Ms Schulz had approached named witnesses by contacting people close to them and making intimidatory suggestions about perjury which could make people second-guess their future actions.
And he described the email correspondence as a “character assassination based on her own opinion”.
He said there was nothing to suggest she was trying to source any assistance for her defence, describing the emails as a “contemptuous, deliberate and provocative act knowing that this would filter back to the victim”.
Magistrate Andrew Sinclair noted that a 22-page document, headlined “Please Tell My Story”, had been posted on a WordPress blog, South Burnett Free Press.
The bail affidavit stated Cr Henschen was mentioned 152 times in this document and many of the other witnesses were mentioned many times.
Referring to previous emails allegedly sent by Ms Schulz, Magistrate Sinclair said she had written to Cr Henschen saying a Facebook group had been set up which would make his life “a living hell”; in another email she allegedly wrote she would continue until she had exhausted every avenue to have him publicly discredited.
“You can kiss your reputation and your job goodbye,” Mr Schulz allegedly wrote.
She also allegedly wrote in another email: “If you want to continue this war, be prepared for battle”.
And in another: “This will continue until I get justice and you are punished for all your wrongdoings”.
Magistrate Sinclair said what looked like it started as a civil matter over website passwords and an alleged debt of $4000 had become “a declaration of World War III”.
“It speaks of highly irrational behaviour,” he said.
Magistrate Sinclair dismissed the claim Ms Schulz had been trying to find new witnesses for her case through her latest emails, describing it as “fanciful”.
He said that by contacting media outlets it might be expected they would investigate, publish it themselves, or at the very least contact the complainant (Cr Henschen).
He said her post on the WordPress site and sending the emails were “entirely consistent” with what she had said to Cr Henschen in the earlier emails that she would continue with her actions until he was publicly discredited.
“The defendant sees herself as being the victim of the stalking rather than the stalker even though she has said in writing that she intends to continue the vendetta that she has against Mr Henschen, and do it in breach of bail,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
He said a message sent to the partner of the complainant was clearly meant to cause detriment and harm to the complainant.
“This message is a contact – indirect but a contact – with the complainant,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
He said messages were also sent to the best friend of the complainant, a relative of the complainant’s deceased wife and to the daughter-in-law of one of the witnesses.
“It seems to be a continuation of what she describes as a war and an attempt to get what she sees as justice and punishment for all of the complainant’s wrongs,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
“So the case for the Crown seems relatively strong on the new charge of stalking and on some of the charges of breaches of bail.”
Ms Schulz sat with her head bowed in the dock as Magistrate Sinclair delivered his ruling.
He said Ms Schulz was an unacceptable risk of committing further offences because she believes she was in the right.
“She won’t stop until she received what she perceives as justice,” Magistrate Sinclair said.
“She hasn’t complied with bail conditions and I am not satisfied that any bail condition that I could impose on her would ameliorate the risk that the stalking behaviour would continue.”
Ms Schulz was remanded in custody to reappear by videolink when the case is next mentioned in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on August 16.