WA Shadow Minister Welcomes Vilification Sentence

February 4, 2011 Agencies
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John Hyde, the Western Australian State Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism has welcomed the conviction of Brendan O’Connell, sentenced  in Perth earlier this week after being found guilty on six counts of racial vilification.

John Hyde

Hyde said: “Our community finds racial vilification abhorrent and the former Gallop Labor Government passed strong legislation so as police and our courts could act,” said Mr Hyde, who had complained to police in 2009 about the racist vilification being displayed on Youtube.
“The original video, filmed in front of the Bell Tower and a supermarket in South Perth, was a disgraceful, racist rant, inciting violence and had no place on Youtube or in the public domain,” Mr Hyde said.
“Stalking a person with your video camera and racially vilifying that person and his race is a sickening action.
“Labor’s anti-vilification legislation was designed to tackle serious racial vilification and outlaw this sort of behaviour.”
Under the legislation, a serious offence would attract a maximum jail term of 14 years or fines of up to $24,000 for people convicted of race hate crimes. The legislation also outlaws the publication, distribution or display in oral, written or pictorial form of material that is threatening or abusive and intended to cause hatred or contempt or ridicule.
Mr Hyde said he was heartened to see the WA police had acted swiftly in arresting the offender and now the independent court system ensured justice had prevailed.
“Members of the multicultural community can take comfort in the knowledge that this race hate crime has been dealt with,” Mr Hyde said.

John Castrilli, Minister for Local Government; Heritage; citizenship and Multicultural Interests said the case demonstrated the State’s legal system would not take matters of racial vilification lightly.
“As a community with more than 200 cultures and religions, West Australians are committed to living in peace and harmony,” he said.
WA’s racial vilification laws were enacted in 2005 and among the toughest in the nation, with a maximum penalty for the offence of 14 years in jail or fines of up to $18,000.
“Our diversity is an integral part of our shared culture and is an important underlying principle of multiculturalism and democracy which the State Government will ensure to protect,” Mr Castrilli said.
“Every West Australian has the right to live free of racial vilification and be protected by the law.”

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