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Vegan activist accused of wild restaurant stunt

Tash Peterson and celebrity chef John Mountain lock horns in Fyre restaurant. Picture: Facebook
Tash Peterson and celebrity chef John Mountain lock horns in Fyre restaurant. Picture: Facebook

Infamous vegan activist Tash Peterson won’t be returning to Australia to face charges in person after a court was told she intended to stay overseas until December.

Ms Peterson, 29, had her case heard in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

She and co-accused Christine Higgs, the 55-year-old mother of Ms Peterson’s boyfriend Jack Higgs, are facing charges after allegedly storming Connolly’s Fyre restaurant in Perth’s north in June.

Tash Peterson and celebrity chef John Mountain lock horns in Fyre restaurant. Picture: Facebook
Tash Peterson and celebrity chef John Mountain lock horns in Fyre restaurant. Picture: Facebook

A group of vegan activists forced their way into the eatery on June 30, showing diners images of slaughtered animals coupled with audio recordings of distressed pigs.

The incident, captured on camera, culminated in Ms Peterson getting into a shouting match with Fyre head chef John Mountain.

The court was told on Wednesday that Ms Peterson, who is in Europe and did not appear for the hearing, intends to remain overseas until December 1 – or November 30 at the earliest, according to her lawyer, herself appearing over the phone.

joondalup courthouse exterior image newswire
Ms Peterson and co-accused Cheryl Higgs had their case heard in Joondalup Magistrates Court on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Anthony Anderson

The court was told a third co-accused would be facing charges on October 6 and requested to have the matters adjourned until that date, which the magistrate said she was “loathe to do”.

However, while she did push the matters to that date, she noted Ms Peterson would have to attend in some form and enter a plea, otherwise the court would automatically enter a plea of not guilty on her behalf.

The WA Police prosecutor did not oppose the adjournment.

The matter comes one day after Ms Peterson appeared in Perth Magistrates court via video link from the UK, where she was fined $1000 over a similar protest held at the Northbridge Outback Jacks restaurant in June 2022.

Mr Mountain had drawn the ire of the pro-vegan group after posting on social media about how he had banned vegans from his restaurant after a negative review from a vegan customer.

Ms Peterson is in Europe, with the court told on Wednesday that she doesn’t plan on returning to Australia until early December. Picture: Instagram
Ms Peterson is in Europe, with the court told on Wednesday that she doesn’t plan on returning to Australia until early December. Picture: Instagram

One week after the June 30 incident, Ms Peterson returned to Fyre again where a similar confrontation ensued. However, she and Ms Higgs are only facing charges of trespass and refusal to leave a licensed premises over the first alleged stunt.

Ms Peterson is also facing an additional charge of disorderly behaviour.

She is no stranger to controversy, having pleaded guilty after chaining herself to a cattle ring at the 2022 Perth Royal Show and invading the Optus Stadium pitch during an AFLW game in February 2020, both incidents aimed at promoting animal rights.

While overseas, Ms Peterson has protested outside several high-end London fashion stores, attended vegan festivals and appeared on a UK TV interview with Piers Morgan.