Chris Nelson, a chiropractor from the Central Coast, 90 minutes north of Sydney, has pleaded guilty to abusing former Olympian and ALP senator Nova Peris on Facebook.
The 64-year-old initially claimed his Facebook account had been hacked and denied making the comments after Peris posted screenshot of his tirade on her Facebook page saying, “Racism stops with me”.
Nelson was arrested at his workplace in Victoria Road, Woy Woy, three weeks ago and appeared in Woy Woy Local Court today, charged with “use carriage service (telecommunications) to cause offence”.
He pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month. His charges carry a maximum sentence of three years in jail.
Nelson’s post called the Olympic gold medalist, who announced last she was leaving politics at the July 2 election a “black c—“, telling her to “f— off”.
“Go back to the bush and suck on witchetty grubs and yams. Stop painting your f—ing face with white s— in parliament. Other than being a runner you are nothing.”
Senator Peris replied to his comment saying “be easy to block and delete your comment Sir Chris Nelson but I’ll leave it there to continue to show the ugly side of this country as I have always done!”
The post was shared more than 16,000 times.
Immediately following the incident, Nelson told his local paper, the Express Advocate, that he was “the victim of a really horrible and extremely vicious hacking” and had subsequently received death threats. He denied he was racist, saying he had friends and family who are Aboriginal.
Fairfax Media reports that when police visited his business on May 30, Nelson admitted he wrote the posts, but claimed he was motivated not by racism but politics and policies such as immigration and Aboriginal welfare.
Nelson was a member of the Liberal Party, but subsequently expelled.
It’s the second time in two days that someone has been convicted of abuse on Facebook.
A 25-year-old Sydney man pleaded guilty to a similar offence, using a carriage service to menace, after threatening to rape women on Facebook.
Zane Alchin, 25, from Caringbah, pleaded guilty after posting 55 comments “trolling” over a two-hour period, claiming “a group of feminists that were harassing me and my friends”. He will be sentenced on July 29.
His comments included, “I’d rape you if you were better looking” and “You know the best thing about a feminist they don’t get any action so when you rape them…”
The incident began after another man posted a screen shot of a Sydney woman’s Tinder profile to Facebook in August 2015, with the comment “stay classy ladies” and numerous people made derogatory comments and shared the post.
After friends began defend her in another Facebook post, Alchin joined the threat making 55 often sexually obscene and threatening comments. Alchin claimed he was drunk at the time.
He would later claim he did not know internet trolling was a crime.
When Paloma Brierley Newton, 24, threatened to report him to the police, he responded “What law am I breaking? I’m not the one out of the f—ing kitchen.”
Brierley Newton took screen shots of Alchin’s comments and gave them to the police. He was arrested last October.
Brierley Newton subsequently created a Facebook group titled “Sexual Violence Won’t be Silenced” alongside a petition seeking tighter laws against online harassment.
Fairfax Media has more on the case here.
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