Monday, April 23, 2007

Footballer fined for 'Nazi' insult

From The Age, April 18, 2007, by Jamie Berry ...

An Ocean Grove footballer has been convicted and fined $1000 for abusing a Jewish businessman.

Magistrate Barbara Cotterell earlier blasted footballer Simon Phillip Christian's "extremely racist" behaviour ....Christian chanted "go Nazis" to Menachem Vorchheimer as he walked to a synagogue with his two young children on October 14....

...Mr Vorchheimer was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse coming from the bus filled with Christian's teammates who had earlier attended the Caulfield Racecourse during the Spring Racing Carnival...."As he was being held by the arms, the victim was punched to the face, causing him to suffer an injury to the area around his left eye," Mr Sutton [his lawyer] said.

...Magistrate Barbara Cotterell found the charge of using insulting words in a public place proven against Christian, an economics student at Deakin University....Ms Cotterell said the comment was "not a slip".In sentencing Christian, Ms Cotterell said that other people should be deterred from behaving in this way in this county. "We pride ourselves on being tolerant and when episodes of this nature take place they besmirch every one of us," she said. She said that the term "Go Nazis" echoed back to one of the most horrific events of the 20th century and using them was difficult to define. "I find they encouraged and supported other members of the group."... she said that "mob mentality" had taken over. "The group on the bus of which you were a part demonstrated great cowardice by yelling insults from a moving bus."

...Christian's lawyer, Brian Bourke... said his client had no comment. "He's got nothing to say. Do you understand me, he's got nothing to say," Mr Bourke told reporters. "He's got nothing to say - do you understand bloody English?"

Two other Ocean Grove footballers will appear in court over the incident in June.

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