Racial hatred trial opens in Perth


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — The trial of a West Australian man who posted a video on YouTube accusing Judaism of being a “religion of racism, hate, homicide and ethnic cleansing” opened in Perth.

Brendon Lee O’Connell, 38, who is representing himself, described Monday’s proceedings in District Court as a “kangaroo court” and told Judge Henry Wisbey he should be facing charges of treason. Two of O’Connell’s supporters had to be removed from court at the judge’s request.

O’Connell is facing seven racial hatred charges relating to a 2009 altercation with two Jewish students in a supermarket where a Friends of Palestine protest was being staged against the sale of Israeli fruit.

On the YouTube video, which is still available on the popular video-sharing website, O’Connell is allegedly recorded as saying that "You have a religion of racism, hate, homicide and ethnic cleansing" before calling one of the Jewish students a "racist Jew."

"You are a racist, homicidal maniac," he said, adding that “I will put you in the camps with the rest of them.”

Western Australia’s racial vilification laws were enacted in 2005. The maximum penalty for the offense is 14 years in jail or fines of up to $18,000.

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