An anti-Islam activist charged over a graphic mock beheading is promising a stunt outside a Melbourne courthouse despite facing six months in jail.
Neil Erikson is one of three men who was charged with breaching Victoria’s religious vilification laws.
In 2015, he took part in a mock beheading outside Bendigo Council to protest against a planned mosque in the western Victorian city.
The Bendigo Three from the United Patriots Front beheaded an effigy filled with fake blood
The Bendigo Three member had joined United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell and fellow supporter Chris Shortis in shouting ‘Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!’, the Arabic term for ‘God is great’, before fake blood oozed from their prop.
While the far-right activists face six months in jail for their stunt, Erikson is so confident the case against them will be dismissed he has made a Facebook video promising a stunt outside Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday morning at 9am.
‘I guarantee you this case will be dismissed,’ he told his 8,616 Facebook followers on Sunday.
‘I’ve got some crazy stuff planned. It’s going to be a media circus.’
Erikson, 32, predicted the prosecution would have egg on their faces with ‘yolk rolling down their chins’.
‘We’ll be laughing. We’ll be laughing. Ha, ha, ha,’ he said in his video.
The men were charged in October 2015 with breaching Victoria’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act, which makes it an offence to incite ‘hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule’ against a group of people.
They are the first high-profile case since a former Labor government introduced the law in January 2002.
Chris Shortis, a Bendigo Three member, says Victoria’s religious vilification laws amounted to blasphemy laws
Chris Shortis (left) told Mark Latham (right) he would not apologise for criticising Islam
Shortis, 45, a fellow member of the Bendigo Three, said the law needed to be challenged because it amounted to a blasphemy law.
‘In essence, what they are trying to achieve … it’s the same thing if you are in Saudi Arabia,’ he told media commentator and former federal Labor leader Mark Latham last week.
‘If you mock Islam, you’ll be charged with blasphemy laws and it really smells like blasphemy laws in disguise.’
Shortis said he would never apologise for criticising a religion ‘which beheads people’ citing Saudi Arabia’s barbaric and public capital punishments.
Construction of the Bendigo mosque has begun despite protests and legal challenges
The Bendigo Three face six months in jail for doing a mock beheading outside council
United Patriots Front activist Neil Erikson is promising a stunt outside a Melbourne courtroom
‘You cannot be taken to court for critiquing religious tenets,’ he said.
‘I will prove that.’
In March, Victoria’s Multicultural Affairs Minister Robin Scott threatened to strengthen the laws the Bendigo Three are charged under.
Construction on the Bendigo mosque started in August, following two years of battles and violent street protests against the council’s approval of the development application.
The High Court in June 2016 dismissed a challenge to the mosque development and ordered the plaintiff to pay costs.
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