Eli Rubashkyn, a trans activist, is pushing for the dismissal of assault charges brought against them following an altercation with women's rights advocate, Kellie-Jay Keen.
During a "Let Women Speak" event in Auckland on March 25, Rubashkyn doused Keen, known online as Posie Parker, with tomato juice, leading Keen to flee the venue and New Zealand shortly thereafter over safety concerns as the counter-protest turned violent.
Charged under the name Eliana Golberstein, Rubashkyn pleaded not guilty to the assault and a related charge.
On Wednesday, their solicitor, James Olsen, approached Judge Claire Ryan, advocating for the dismissal of the charge associated with Keen. The judge will render her verdict on October 26.
Drawing comparisons to a past incident where a woman wasn't charged for hurling a sex toy at Steven Joyce, Olsen argued Rubashkyn acted out of perceived necessity, citing fears of Parker's message.
However, Sergeant Phil Mann countered that Rubashkyn had openly intermingled with Keen's supporters earlier, casting doubt on the claim of fear.
Olsen suggested that attendees at the protest were aware of potential minor altercations, implying a level of acceptance.
However, Judge Ryan was unconvinced, highlighting Keen's swift exit and tour cancellation. Mann echoed her sentiments, mentioning Keen's employment of security measures to avoid confrontations.
The defence also claimed the prosecution was discriminatory and questioned its utility, noting Keen’s absence of a formal statement. However, Mann emphasised the public interest in proceeding with the case, regardless of Keen’s statement.
Rubashkyn had threatened similar violent action against Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini ahead of his official book launch in New Zealand in August this year, before deleting their social media profiles altogether.