Far-right extremist and convicted racist Blair Cottrell fails in supreme court appeal bid
Court knocks back United Patriots Front leader’s attempt to overturn his racial vilification conviction for a mock beheading video
Far-right extremist 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.
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.
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 8 August.