Yesterday, The Three Stooges (AKA ‘The Bendigo Three’) — Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson and Chris Shortis — were convicted of serious religious vilification in Melbourne Magistrates Court over a publicity stunt the boys performed in October 2015, and fined $2,000 each. The trio has indicated that they intend to appeal the decision in the County Court.
See : Far-right nationalists found guilty of inciting serious contempt for Muslims after mock beheading video, James Oaten, ABC, September 5, 2017 | United Patriots Front trio found guilty of inciting contempt of Muslims, SBS (AAP), September 5, 2017 | Far-right trio convicted, fined $2000 each, over mock-beheading mosque protest, Adam Cooper, The Age, September 5, 2017.
The stunt — for which UPF lackeys ‘Farma’ John Wilkinson and Linden Watson acted as gormless witnesses — took place a few days prior to an anti-Muslim rally in Bendigo on October 10, which attracted as many as 1,000 bigots; the largest such demonstration to have taken place in Australia. Both Erikson and Shortis left the UPF in the months following the stunt, while Cottrell has remained the fuehrer of what is now largely a lame-duck organisation, and as of September 5 can add the crime of serious religious vilification to his list of priors. (Cottrell’s criminal record is detailed in a report by Geir O’Rourke and Angus Thompson in the Herald Sun (June 11, 2016). Of his offending, they write: ‘Cottrell, 26, was sentenced to four months in prison in May 2012 after being convicted of 13 charges, including seven counts of intentionally damaging property. County Court Judge Michael Tinney convicted the then-22-year-old of throwing a missile, stalking, failing to comply with a community-based order, and two counts of recklessly causing serious injury. In December 2013 he was fined $1000 and sentenced to seven days in jail by a County Court judge for aggravated burglary, property damage, arson, trafficking testosterone, possessing a controlled weapon and breaching court orders.’ Cottrell, as ‘Bruce’, appeared in a documentary about youth in the maximum-security Youth Unit at Port Phillip Prison in Truganina, in which he describes how he abused steroids, stalked his former partner and her boyfriend, tried to kill him, set fire to their house, and eventually got arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.)
As for Erikson, having already been convicted in February 2014 of stalking a local Melbourne rabbi — ‘Magistrate Donna Bakos said she had no doubt Erikson’s calls were motivated by prejudice and found he had little remorse for his crime’ — celebrated being given another slap on the wrist by the courts by disrupting a meeting of Yarra Council in order to harass councillor Steve Jolly. (See : Far right protesters storm Yarra City Council meeting over Australia Day ban, Melissa Cunningham, The Age, September 5, 2017 | Yarra Council meeting interrupted by far-right group protesting against Australia Day changes, ABC, September 6, 2017.) Among those who joined Erikson were George Jameson and Penny Louise/Tridgell of the Sydney-based Party for Freedom and locals Paul ‘Guru’ Franzi (sporting Soldiers of Odin merch) and UPF fanboy Luke Phipps. Note that the first public rally organised by the UPF took place in Richmond on May 31, 2015, and was called in order to demand Jolly be thrown out of office.
See also : Fascists flail in Melbourne race hate trial, Corey Oakley, Red Flag, September 11, 2017.