First to be charged under new Nazi symbols law
Three football fans have been charged under the offence, 'knowingly displaying a Nazi symbol without excuse'.
Three football fans have become the first in Australia to be charged under a new law passed six months ago that bans the public display of Nazi symbols without a reasonable excuse.
NSW Police have been investigating allegations of hate crimes committed by a few Sydney United 58 football fans during last year’s Australia Cup final against Macarthur FC, held at Sydney’s Commbank Stadium.
Following an extensive review of broadcast and CCTV footage from the match – which captured fans performing Nazi salutes and waving offensive flags and banners – three men were charged under the offence of ‘knowingly displaying a Nazi symbol without excuse’.
A 24-year-old man from Beverley Park, a 44-year-old Doonside man and a 45-year-old man from Wetherill Park will appear in Parramatta Local Court on April 19. The trio face a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine if found guilty.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBD) was instrumental in getting the new legislation passed in NSW following a historic joint submission with the Hindu Council of Australia. JBD CEO Darren Bark said at the time, “Banning Nazi symbols is a long-overdue and much-needed law in our state.”
NSW JBD president David Ossip said, “We welcome the strong and swift action taken by NSW Police and Football Australia following these vile incidents, and hope these charges serve as a warning to all that displaying a Nazi symbol in NSW is not only abhorrent, it is illegal.”
The shocking crowd behaviour has already seen Football Australia issue life bans to two fans for making Nazi salutes, as well as impose a range of sanctions against Sydney United, including a $15,000 fine and several suspended sentences.
Victoria is the only other state in Australia that has passed a similar law banning the public display of Nazi symbols. It also permits the use of the swastika in connection with the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain faiths, and other Nazi-related symbols provided they are used for educational purposes.
NSW Police say their investigations into the Australia Cup final are continuing.