Australia

Blair Cottrell fails to get racial vilification conviction heard by supreme court

A County Court judge says her court will deal with Blair Cottrell's racial vilification appeal. (AAP)

The Victorian County Court, not the higher Court of Appeal, will handle far-right activist Blair Cottrell's battle against his racial vilification conviction.

Right-wing activist Blair Cottrell has been knocked back in his bid to contest his racial vilification conviction in Victoria's Supreme Court.

The United Patriots Front leader, along with two of his supporters, were convicted of inciting hatred, contempt and ridicule of Muslims after making a video beheading a dummy in protest of a Bendigo mosque.

Blair Cottrell (right) speaks to media outside the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne. His bid to have his case taken to the Supreme Court has failed.
Blair Cottrell (right) speaks to media outside the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne. His bid to have his case taken to the Supreme Court has failed.

Following the September 2017 magistrates' court decision, Cottrell made an immediate bid for appeal.

In February, his application to fight for "free speech" in the High Court was rejected, after arguing he was charged with an "invalid law" under the Australian constitution.

He then made moves to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Victoria, via its Court of Appeal.

He argued the matter was at odds with Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which permits freedom of thought, conscience, religious belief and expression.

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

But on Tuesday, County Court Judge Lisa Hannan dismissed this application also, saying there were factual matters still to be decided - such as Cottrell's intentions in making the video - before the case went to a higher court.

She said her court was adequately equipped to deal with the matter, and referring it on at this stage would only "fragment" the case.

The County Court appeal has been set down for a 10-day hearing from August 8.

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