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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Volunteer allegedly bashed after stopping man removing Liberal candidate Sarah Richards’ signs

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Liberal volunteer is ‘BASHED’ after trying to stop a man ripping out a candidate’s signs in the Blue Mountains

  • A Liberal party volunteer alleges he was assaulted by three people near Sydney
  • Kevin Birch, 53, stopped man removing signs promoting Liberal Sarah Richards
  • After a ‘verbal altercation’, Mr Birch says he was punched in the face and back
  • Police confirmed a man, 25, was charged with assault, a second man still sought 

A grandfather and Liberal party volunteer was allegedly assaulted in a ‘politically motivated’ attack after he confronted a man about removing a candidate’s campaign signs.

Hazelbrook cafe owner Kevin Birch, 53, said while driving in the Blue Mountains with his wife and daughter, he came across a man he claimed was damaging posters for Liberal’s Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards.

When Mr Birch questioned the man, who was wearing a red jumper, he said ‘I don’t like Sarah Richards’.

He offered to replace Ms Richards’ sign if Mr Birch would let him drive off in his white Nissan.

Hazelbrook cafe owner Kevin Birch, 53, came across a man he said was removing posters for Liberal's Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards in the Blue Mountains on Wednesday

Hazelbrook cafe owner Kevin Birch, 53, came across a man he said was removing posters for Liberal’s Macquarie candidate Sarah Richards in the Blue Mountains on Wednesday

The man who allegedly assaulted Kevin Birch said 'I don't like Sarah Richards and I don't like the Liberal Party' (pictured, Sarah Richards)

The man who allegedly assaulted Kevin Birch said ‘I don’t like Sarah Richards and I don’t like the Liberal Party’ (pictured, Sarah Richards)

When a second car arrived, a man in a white hoodie approached Mr Birch and allegedly punched him in the face through his open car window.

When Mr Birch’s wife Maree phoned police so that they could report the incident and the registration plates of the two cars, he alleges he was again attacked – this time punched in the head.

The alleged blows knocked his glasses from his head and left him with a swollen jaw.

‘It was a complete ambush,’ Mr Birch, who is a member of the Liberal Party and has volunteered for three years, told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Birch alleges he was assaulted by three people in a short space of time – the man in a white hoodie, the man removing the signs and a woman with them.

The man who removed the signs, who was wearing a red jumper, told Mr Birch, 'I don’t like Sarah Richards', then offered to replace the sign if he could be let go

The man who removed the signs, who was wearing a red jumper, told Mr Birch, ‘I don’t like Sarah Richards’, then offered to replace the sign if he could be let go

When he grabbed the white hoodie worn by the second man, the woman with him allegedly joined in the assault.

Mr Birch’s life was also allegedly threatened during the incident. 

He claimed the assaults happened in front of his 12-year-old daughter and his wife, who were both in his car.

After the incident the three fled the scene. 

He suffered swelling to his jaw and bruising to his knee and ankle in the alleged assault.

Mr Birch added that he believes the incident was ‘politically motivated’.

‘He said ”I don’t like Sarah Richards and I don’t like the Liberal Party”.’

Macquarie is held by Labor’s Susan Templeman on razor thin margin of 0.2 per cent. 

NSW police released a statement confirming a 25-year-old Lawson man was charged with assault and repeating Mr Birch’s claims.

Police said a 'verbal altercation' initially ensued when Mr Birch confronted a man removing a political party sign for Sarah Richards from the ground at Lawson, after which an alleged assault occurred.

Police said a ‘verbal altercation’ initially ensued when Mr Birch confronted a man removing a political party sign for Sarah Richards from the ground at Lawson, after which an alleged assault occurred.

Police said a ‘verbal altercation’ initially ensued when Mr Birch confronted a man removing a political party sign from the ground at Lawson, after which an alleged assault occurred. 

‘Following inquiries, a 25-year-old man was arrested in Lawson [on Thursday] and charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault,’ the police statement said.

The man was granted conditional bail to appear before Katoomba Local Court on Monday 6 June.

Police confirmed ‘inquiries continue to locate the other male involved.’

Daily Mail Australia contacted Sarah Richards for comment. 

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