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Judge dismisses misogynist’s terror threat

A vocal, paranoid misogynist with a history of posting violent threats and “bad ideas” online won’t be closely watched under terrorism-related laws.

NSW had claimed the man’s series of personal grievances had developed into a “global sense of grievance” coloured by male supremacist material.

Male supremacy denotes the belief men are superior to women.

The escalation, allegedly shown in online and offline commentary, made him an unacceptable risk of committing a serious terrorist offence, the state said.

But there was no evidence the man had ever come close to committing a terrorism act or an act of violent extremism, NSW Supreme Court Justice Peter Hamill said.

The threat of the man committing a serious terrorism offence was “remote, if not infinitesimal” – well short of the “unacceptable” risk required to impose a supervision order controlling his movements and interactions.

However, the judge rejected a suggestion NSW had tried to use the intrusive terrorism-related legislation to “unnecessarily control a person who has made offensive statements to police”.

The western NSW man, who cannot be named, is awaiting trial after allegedly intimidating a female police officer in October 2020 when commencing a one-year jail term for threatening to blow up a police station.

In one Facebook post in March 2020, he outlined how he’d “had enough with this … feminist health department feminist police dept feminist mental health department”.

He said he would mix various bomb-making ingredients so the next Women’s Day March “might go off with a real bang”.

Other evidence showed the man posted a list of women he wanted to kill on Facebook, threatened the “feminist” St Vincent’s Hospital Darlinghurst and used grievances about local police to threaten harm officers, including one particular female officer.

A psychologist rated him a “medium-high risk of violent extremism, politically motivated violence or terrorism”.

That was based on the suggestion the man’s belief system was on the periphery of incel, alt-right and other movements that justify violence against women.

But a political scientist found links to more extreme and dangerous groups such as incels were inconclusive.

Justice Hamill accepted many of the defendant’s threats were directed at women or motivated by underlying misogyny.

His online commentary also “betray(ed) a right-wing political bias and a misguided, paranoid, misogynist mindset”.

But the animosity and threats of retribution and violence weren’t directed exclusively towards women or women’s groups, the judge said.

“He expresses bad ideas. He posts stupid things on Facebook. He appears to be a misogynist and resents police, mental health workers and correctives officers doing their jobs when that interferes with his liberty and freedom,” Justice Hamill said.

“He harbours disproportionate grievances and lashes out verbally and lyrically in response. His mental health issues are fuelled by the material he accesses on the internet.”

The judge said the psychologist’s view was difficult to reconcile with the defendant’s actual lack of violent offending.

The man remains in custody, awaiting trial.

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