A TikTok comedian who shot to fame for predicting NSW’s daily Covid-19 numbers has been found guilty of encouraging people to breach pandemic restrictions.
Jon-Bernard Kairouz, 25 of Belmore, argued that he was performing comedy when he used a megaphone from the steps of Sydney’s Town Hall to tell a crowd of 3500 protesters last year that “all we want is freedom”.
The 45-second speech was a comedian “saying comedic things”, his lawyer insisted.
But Magistrate Emma Manea was not amused.
"It does not - from his conduct and the words he says - come across as a joke,” she said.
She said Kairouz’s demeanour, and use of the word "we" to the crowd, constituted encouragement.
"If he's not encouraging the crowd, then what is his purpose?"
She found the comedian guilty of encouraging people to breach the pandemic restriction on people gathering outdoors.
Kairouz was sentenced to a two-year good behaviour bond. No conviction was recorded.
The business and accounting graduate became famous last year after correctly reporting NSW's daily Covid-19 numbers, hours before they were officially reported.
He pretended to use a mathematical formula to work out the numbers when he was actually being fed the information from a government source.
The court found this week that the TikTok star was genuinely remorseful and was a person of good character with no prior criminal history.
The magistrate said Kairouz had already been punished by “vicious racist comments” on social media.
One person had wished Kairouz catch COVID-19 and die while another called him a "dirty f---ing Arab" and told him to "f--- off back to your s---ty country or kill yourself, we don't want you here".
Recording a conviction would be a further punishment that would go above and beyond what he had already suffered, Manea said.