Dunedin student charge with making ‘anti-Muslim slurs”

A student with name suppression appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence).

ODT:  Anti-Muslim slurs day after attack

A Dunedin student has admitted making expletive-laden anti-Muslim slurs just one day after the terrorist attack in Christchurch.

The student admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour (likely to cause violence), which holds a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

Police saw the man on the street in the student sector yelling words to the effect of: “Muslims are not welcome in our country, go home Muslims!”

Other revellers told officers there had been repeated earlier slurs too.

Police, who were patrolling areas around the mosque, were on Castle St, clearing up to 200 people from the road.

At the intersection with Dundas St, the defendant approached their vehicle and shouted his racist message.

“He yelled this repeatedly amongst the crowd of people on the street,” police said.

The teen was firmly told that his comments were “inappropriate and insensitive”.

However, the defendant was unapologetic, stating he was entitled to his opinion and freedom of speech.

He accused officers of trying to intimidate them and accused them of being “right-wing fascists”.

While this discussion was ongoing, three women told police that earlier in the evening the teenager had repeatedly shouted “f*** the Muslims”.

Others on the street began to abuse the defendant for his comments and police arrested him.

What this person was doing was awful and inappropriate. Is arresting him the best way to deal with it? In those circumstances it may have been.

Defence counsel Andrew More told the court his client’s father was at yesterday’s hearing and had been “surprised and disappointed” in his son’s behaviour.

Judge Michael Crosbie called it “no more or less than overt racism”.

It’s kind of weird for me to see this – I have appeared before Judge Crosbie (in the dock once), and Mr More appeared  for private prosecutor Dermot Nottingham at one hearing when applications were made to have the charges dismissed (charges were withdrawn at the next hearing).

He refused to sentence the teenager on the spot because he wanted to know what the repercussions would be with the University of Otago.

A university spokesman said any students who committed criminal offences were dealt with once any court process had concluded.

The student will be sentenced in June. The charge has a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.