Blair Cottrell loses appeal against conviction for inciting contempt, ridicule of Muslims

Convicted criminal Blair Cottrell has failed in his bid to have his conviction for inciting hatred quashed by a Melbourne court.

Blair Cottrell speaks to media outside of the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne.

Blair Cottrell speaks to media outside of the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne. Source: AAP

Hatemonger Blair Cottrell has failed to quash his conviction for beheading a dummy in protest over a mosque being built in Victoria.

The former United Patriots Front leader had his magistrates' court conviction

He was convicted of inciting hatred, contempt and ridicule of Muslims after making a 2015 video beheading of a dummy in protest of a Bendigo mosque.

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Cottrell's appeal against his conviction for inciting hatred, contempt and ridicule of Muslims has been quashed.
Cottrell's appeal against his conviction for inciting hatred, contempt and ridicule of Muslims has been quashed. Source: AAP


"The only inference available is that the mock beheading scene was intended to whip up extreme negative feelings in the audience about Muslims, including fear, loathing, disgust and alarm," Chief Judge Peter Kidd said in his published reasons.



He said Cottrell intended the emotions he would incite through the video would be "visceral, impactful and lasting".

The judge described the filmed act as a "violent pantomime" and said Cottrell's claim the video was meant to be absurd and funny was inconsistent with the evidence.

"I reject, as lacking in all credibility, the appellant's claim that this video was about the mere absurd, or intended to be humorous. It is a patently disingenuous characterisation and is self-contradictory. I do not believe him," the judge wrote.

He also said it was Cottrell's aim to incite "extreme feelings" against Muslims because of their religious beliefs.

"This whole episode was calculated to promote rank and demeaning stereotyping of Muslims."

However, he accepted the goal of Cottrell was to protest a local government decision to the building of the Bendigo Mosque.

But Judge Kidd said though the former UPF leader may have wanted to incite

Blair Cottrell speak during a recent right-wing rally in Melbourne.
Blair Cottrell speak during a recent right-wing rally in Melbourne. Source: AAP


"Even if the ends were political, the means remain vilifying. Having a political end is not a defence to the charge."

He said the religious vilification provision does not prevent freedom of expression but if it does, it is appropriate and adapted to "a legitimate purpose".

"I'm not surprised," Cottrell said outside court.

He said he was now broke.



"My bank account's been closed down, my PayPal account has been closed down. The fact that I'm at court now wearing a suit is a miracle."

Cottrell, Neil Erikson and Christopher Neil Shortis were convicted and fined in 2017 over the beheading video, involving a dummy made of pillows and red liquid squirting from its head.


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3 min read
Published 19 December 2019 at 4:02pm
Source: SBS