‘Sovereign citizen’ who allegedly refused to wear a mask stays in jail

A woman charged with assaulting police over her alleged refusal to wear a face mask remains in custody after a magistrate raised concerns about whether she would cover up during her court appearance or if released on bail.

Mandy Crerar, 58, is accused of entering a Frankston cafe without a mask on August 11 and coughing over another person. Police allege that when asked to wear a mask inside the cafe she began screaming she was a "sovereign citizen" and yelled she didn't need to comply with the state government's coronavirus laws.

When police were called and Ms Crerar left the cafe, she allegedly resisted arrest and scratched an officer who was trying to handcuff her, according to documents released by Frankston Magistrates Court. She repeatedly yelled "rape, rape" as the officers tried to arrest her, the documents say.

Ms Crerar was not brought to a video link room in jail for her bail application on Tuesday amid confusion about whether she was prepared to wear a mask during the hearing.

Magistrate Timothy Gattuso questioned whether the accused woman was prepared to cover her face but her lawyer, Christopher Terry, said she would wear a mask although it was her preference not to.

"My instructions are there has been no refusal to wear a mask," Mr Terry said.

Police opposed Ms Crerar's bail out of concern she would not comply with rules to wear a mask when outside, and fears she would intentionally cough on people and return to the cafe to intimidate staff and customers.

The court documents also allege Ms Crerar struck an officer and had been aggressive when police previously visited her Frankston home.

Ms Crerar was refused bail earlier this month, but was granted another attempt when Mr Gattuso ruled there were new facts and circumstances, through the offer of a $5000 surety and the evidence of her partner, who said he had a back problem and needed help.

Andrew Lane told the court he needed Ms Crerar to help him with treatment for a debilitating back problem, and to pack up the house before it was sold.

"I really can't cope and it's driving me mad," Mr Lane said as he began crying.

"To be honest I am not coping, sorry. It's just very emotional for me."

Ms Crerar was prepared to wear a mask if granted bail, her lawyer said.

But the magistrate said doubts about whether Ms Crerar was prepared to wear a mask in court added to the concerns she would not comply with the government's rules if released from custody.

"That's certainly a concern in regard to bail," Mr Gattuso said.

"She doesn't accept the validity of any state or Commonwealth acts and claims she's a sovereign citizen … it's somewhat perverse given she's going to be relying on the Bail Act."

The bail application will return to court on Thursday.

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