[Update (August 3, 2021) : Extremist bailed to appeal abuse sentence, Karen Sweeney, The Canberra Times, August 2, 2021.]
Today, neo-Nazi serial pest Neil Erikson was sentenced to 10 weeks in jail after being convicted of disrupting a Christian religious service in Hawthorn in May 2019.
See : Vic extremist jailed for LGBT church abuse, Gus McCubbing, The Canberra Times, July 30, 2021 | Far-Right Extremist Jailed For Homophobic Abuse At Queer-Friendly Melbourne Church, Star Observer, July 30, 2021.
Erikson’s jail sentence follows soon after a previous one, having been found guilty in May of this year of disrupting a Muslim gathering in Federation Square in April 2019 (just a few weeks after the Christchurch massacre).
Prior to this, in February 2014, Erikson was found guilty of stalking a Melbourne rabbi but was spared a custodial sentence, the magistrate remarking that ‘she had no doubt Erikson’s calls were motivated by prejudice and found he had little remorse for his crime’; in handing down today’s sentence, Magistrate Angela Bolger told Erikson ‘It’s appalling and shameful conduct, but I suspect you might be beyond shame, because you’ve done this before’.
Indeed, Erikson has spent the last 15 years or so engaged in similar behaviour, had numerous court appearances, and never once expressed remorse. In May 2019:
Having disturbed a gathering of “faggots” on Sunday, on Monday Erikson was in court, along with [Ricky] Turner, to face charges arising from the Milo stoopid of December 2017. Erikson was later found guilty of affray & assault with a weapon, and received a 120-hour community corrections order as punishment; Turner accepted a plea deal of a $1,000 fine and a 12-month good-behaviour bond. (Last month, Erikson’s olde nazi chum Richard Whelan had his charges dropped, and earlier Dwayne McKenzie and Garry Hume received diversion orders, as did Soldier of Odin Garry Mattsson.)
Finally, shout-out to the two ostensible Christians who accompanied Erikson on his expedition to Hawthorn but who escaped charges. One of these was Claudia Benitez (AKA ‘Dia Beltran’; see : Victorian Liberals fear far-right incursions as YouTuber attends party event, Christopher Knaus and Michael McGowan, The Guardian, June 5, 2019). Benitez is one of numerous YouTube and social media propagandists who provide a platform for a range of neo-Nazis, White supremacists, AltRightists, conspiracy theorists, Christian fundamentalists, COVID-19 denialists and others, both (in)famous — Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning, LNP MP George Christensen, Russian fascist ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, PHONy’s Mark Latham, Proud Boy founder Gavin McInnes and convicted spousal abuser Avi Yemini — and more obscure.
See also : Political philosophy and Australian far-right media: A critical discourse analysis of The Unshackled and XYZ, Imogen Richards, Maria Rae, Matteo Vergani, Callum Jones, Thesis Eleven, Vol.163, No.1, April 2021.