NSW Court Shows Leniency to White Australian Who Repeatedly Advocated Terrorism Offences

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By Paul Gregoire and Ugur Nedim

Far-right extremist Wade John Homewood was arrested by New South Wales police officers in November 2021, over numerous social media posts to his two accounts, which advocated extreme violence and included suggestions to execute prominent political figures, as well as the murder of all nonwhite peoples.

The thousands of posts advocating for the killing of African and Indian people, as well as adherents of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, included one example cited in court that involved a white man executing a black man with a bullet through the back of his head as he lay upon the grass.

The posts were found to advocate for terrorist acts and their preparation, as well as calling for the support of terrorist organisations. And during a late 2021 raid at the Anglo Australian man’s Tamworth home, more extreme documentation was located, along with a copy of Hitlers’ Mein Kampf.

Officers also found that while Homewood held a valid NSW firearm category A and B licence and his eight firearms were properly stored, as per legal requirements, over 8,000 rounds of assorted calibre ammunition were simply kept in his bedroom in violation of the law.

And in terms of the objective seriousness of the crimes, which were given a terror designation, NSW District Court Judge Andrew Colefax found that Homewood’s advocating terror posts were slightly above mid-range in seriousness, while the unsecured bullets were “well above the mid-range’.

Just a bit of venting 

Homewood pleaded guilty early on in the NSW Local Court and went on to appear in the Parramatta District Court to be sentenced on 22 November 2022.

The then 38-year-old accepted guilt to one count of advocating terrorism, contrary to section 80.2C of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). And this is a crime that carries a maximum penalty of five years, which for a terror offence is rather light, compared to life for threatening terrorism.

The other crime Homewood was charged with related to the bullets, which incurred one count of failing to abide by NSW Firearms Licence category A and B requirements, contrary to section 40(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), which carries up to 12 months inside and/or a fine of $2,200.

This second crime was placed on a section 166 certificate, which meant that while it was acknowledged at trial and was even given a separate sentence, as it is a state offence and the other a federal offence, any penalty it did incur couldn’t be directly applied.

And this certificate process is set out in section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW).

A report on Homewood by a Dr Seidler submitted to the court was cited, and it explained that the offender identifies as Australian and considers many in the country to have “abandoned their culture”, revealing “a breakdown in society”, and he feels betrayed by them and the government.

Judge Colefax raised the point put by the defendant regarding his posts as involving him “merely venting” online, but his Honour found this particularly problematic due to the “sheer quantity of the material” and the period of time involved in its production.

Traumas causing terrorism

Further points were raised in court about Homewood’s trauma when young, which were found to have resulted from discovering at the age of 12 that his older brothers weren’t actually full siblings, but rather were the product of a previous relationship his mother had prior to marrying his father.

Other issues touched upon in the report included more childhood trauma resulting from difficulties in the schoolyard, as Homewood was bullied by other students and, for the most part, this was carried out by “foreigners”, which, the doctor explained, cemented his distrust in them.

Further issues that Homewood had in his younger years focused upon the offender being intelligent but not applying this to anything, along with his parents having suffered depression during his upbringing, and that he, as well, suffered poor mental health outcomes.

As to why he engaged in such provocative online behaviour, the report suggested that Homewood had “found a degree of acceptance, belonging and reward online and through his activities”, so his outpouring of racist violence-inciting posts was also inspired by his need to connect with others.

Judge Colefax pointed out that Seidler found no evidence that Homewood sought to engage in violence, but rather he was seeking others to listen and respect him online. And while his Honour didn’t totally agree with this, he did accept that Homewood wasn’t considering his own terror act.

And the last takeaway was Seidler had applied the Violent Extremism Risk Assessment tool version 2 (VERA-2R) to the matter, which had resulted in her finding that Homewood posed “a low-risk of engaging in an act of violent extremism himself”.

Remorseless and uncontrite

“Subject to the qualifications I have already expressed, I otherwise accept Dr Seidler’s evidence summarising your subjective circumstances,” Judge Colefax said on handing down his 3 February 2023 sentencing remarks.

His Honour then raised the point that Homewood had shown no “remorse or contrition”, and, therefore, he was “not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities” that the man was “remorseful or genuinely contrite in relation to either” offence, and there were poor prospects for rehabilitation.

Whilst the defence had repeatedly raised the option of an intensive correction order (ICO), which allows for a custodial sentence to be served in the community, due to the consideration of both general and specific deterrence, no sentence outside of full-time prison would be adequate.

And as one offence, advocating terrorism, is a Commonwealth crime and the other firearm offence is a state crime, his Honour was unable to sentence for both to produce one aggregate sentence, so his penalty applied to both crimes to be served concurrently.

A 25 percent discount was applied to the sentence in acknowledgment of the utilitarian value of Homewood’s early guilty plea.

Judge Colefax then sentenced Homewood to 2 years and 7 months imprisonment, with non-parole set at 1 year and 11 months for the terror crime of advocating for the killing of all non-Anglo Australians.

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One Comment

  1. Steve

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