Having both previously plead guilty to a charge of ‘violent disorder’, at a sentencing hearing today in the Victorian County Court, Tom Sewell and Jacob Hersant, the Melbourne-based leaders of the neo-Nazi grouplets European Australian Movement/National Socialist Network, were spared jail.
Sewell, who had spent more than six months on remand after his arrest, was sentenced to one month and seven days jail recognised as time served.
Hersant, who had spent three days in custody, was sentenced to 200 hours of community service over the next 14 months.
• Judge wishes prominent neo-Nazis ‘good luck’ as they avoid further jail, David Estcourt, The Age, October 27, 2023;
• Neo-Nazis walk free from court, spared further jail time over attack on Victorian hikers, Kristian Silva, ABC, October 27, 2023;
• Thomas Sewell and Jacob Hersant: Melbourne neo-Nazi leaders defiant after hikers attack, Liam Beatty, news dot com dot au, October 27, 2023;
• Neo-Nazi leader sentenced to time served over attack on hikers in Victorian state park, Australian Associated press, October 27, 2023.
Remarkably, the sentencing magistrate said ‘good luck gentlemen’ as she left the bench, and believes the dynamic duo are good prospects for rehabilitation. I think this naive: [Judge] Blair wished the pair luck in their future, after which they turned and embraced neo-Nazi members who had attended court to support them. Shortly after stepping out of the court building, Hersant turned to the media and said: “Australia for the white man, Heil Hitler.”
Finally, … The judge also said that she did not believe the attack on the hikers was politically or racially motivated, and agreed it was not premeditated. This is also curious because the nazis argued exactly the opposite post-arrest, ie; the six victims of the violent affray were targeted precisely because they were identified by the nazis as ‘anti-fascists’. Sewell, outside court, further claimed that he, and two 18-year-old members, were run over during the exchange, which he blamed on “gay-Jewish-Communists”. “They’re anti-fascists, so they’ve got a political motivation to make false accusations,” Sewell said.
Cool story, bro.
In any case, further court dates loom for other EAM/NSN members and revolve around a Neo-Nazi charged over antisemitic graffiti in library bathrooms (October 20, 2023) and Notorious Neo-Nazis likely architects of ‘menacing’ video directed at Lidia Thorpe (October 11, 2023).
See also : Her Honour Judge Kellie Blair has handed down her sentencing reasons in the Director of Public Prosecutions v Thomas Sewell and Jacob Hersant., County Court of Victoria, October 27, 2023 | Neo-Nazi Jacob Hersant pleads guilty to distributing white-nationalist stickers promoting Nazism and more, Gemma Scerri. The Melbourne City News, October 18, 2023 | Unravel – Firebomb, Crispian Chan, ABC, August–October 2023 (‘Chinese restaurants are being firebombed in the dead of night. The police arson squad is racing against the clock to stop the next attack. It’s 1988 and as the rest of Australia celebrates the nation’s bicentenary, a campaign of terror is getting underway in Perth. Thirty-five years on, most of us have never heard about it, even though it’s one of the few sustained and coordinated terrorism campaigns in Australia’s history.’).
The boneheads known as Hammerskins belong to an earlier generation of neo-Nazi fanatik than the n00bs belonging to the EAM/NSN. Established in the US, the Australian franchise — the ‘Southern Cross’ Hammerskins — was the first (1992) to be thrown up outside North America, thanks principally to the efforts of Scott McGuinness (Fortress). Last month, having previously been outlawed in Portugal, Germany announced that it too was banning the group.
Disrupted by COVID-19 and lockdown, in Australia the boneheads appear to have closed their online domains 9% Productions, Blood and Honour Australia and Southern Cross Hammerksins last year (joining the ‘Crew 38’ site on the electronic scrapheap). And, while there’s been a close relationship between Australian, German and Portuguese Hammerskins in the (recent) past, I’m unaware if the decision to close the sites is related to the German legal repression.
In Canada, meanwhile, Hammerskins have been keeping busy by way of ‘Active Clubs’, a project also engaged in locally by the EAM/NSN. According to Tess Owen and Mack Lamoureux (As 2024 Looms, Neo-Nazis Are Returning to the Streets, Vice, September 14, 2023):
National Socialist Florida is another group that’s formed in the past year that has international ties. The group’s leader, Josh Nunes, who claims to be a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, says he partly modeled the organization after the Australia-based National Socialist Network (ASN), according to ADL. Nunes credits ASN’s leader, white supremacist Thomas Sewell, as a mentor and advisor to his group. In a recent interview with NPR, Nunes said that anti-LGBTQ activism has been hugely beneficial for attracting new members. “We’ve just seen the largest upticks in recruitment from the drag stuff,” Nunes said.
See also : Transgender movement next on Price hit list, Sarah Ison, The Australian, September 11, 2023.