A proud white supremacist has today had a charge of breaching release conditions by going near a Christchurch mosque during the March 15 gunman’s sentencing thrown out.
Philip Arps saluted the judge and marched out of court whistling this morning after the charge was dropped.
Arps abused journalists in the courtroom before his hearing this morning, calling them “media w****s” and “Jew-loving c****”.
He also turned his back on the judge in the dock before breathing heavily and dramatically, pacing up and down, saying he was trying to control himself.
Arps, who used to own a Nazi-themed insulation company, was jailed for 21 months last year for spreading disturbing footage of the Al Noor Mosque massacre.
The 45-year-old was released in late January with strict conditions, which included not going near Christchurch’s two mosques or having contact with Muslim people without special approval from his probation officer.
He was electronically monitored with a GPS tracker – an ankle bracelet designed to trigger alerts if he entered “exclusion zones” around Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch where the shootings happened.
Arps was arrested on August 25 – the second day of Brenton Tarrant’s historic sentencing hearing in the city – for visiting a store beside the Linwood Mosque.
He was charged with breach of release conditions and appeared at Christchurch District Court, where he denied the charge.
But today the charge was dropped under section 147 of the Criminal Procedure Act after an application by defence counsel Anselm Williams.
Williams said there was no evidence that Arps had breached his released conditions.
The arrest had resulted in significant expense and “distress” to Arps and his family, Williams said.
And now he wanted Corrections – which did not oppose the charge being dropped – to pay his legal fees.
A hearing to determine his costs will be heard on November 10, Judge Peter Rollo said, before saying Arps was free to go.
Arps lost an appeal against his strident release conditions earlier, with high court judge Justice Rob Osborne noting that Arps appeared to have a “deep-seated enmity towards people of the Muslim and Jewish faiths”.
“The enmity has been manifested in vitriolic language and activity. It seemingly occupies his mind both when he is awake and asleep,” he said.
It has led him into offending on two occasions in recent years. In 2016, Arps was one of a group of men who filmed themselves doing Hitler salutes as they delivered boxes of pigs heads and offal to the Al Noor mosque.
“White power … Bring on the cull,” Arps was seen saying in the video.
In that case, he was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined $800.
The second resulted in his pleading guilty to two charges of distributing objectionable publications in 2019 in the form of edited video footage of the March 15 shootings.
At the hearing in January, a Corrections official who gave evidence said that Arps, who compares himself to Adolf Hitler’s deputy and war criminal Rudolf Hess, found anyone who disagrees with his belief system to be offensive.
She fears he could harm the Muslim community again “through his views … most likely through online advocacy”.
The Muslim Association of Canterbury supported the extra release conditions, saying the community is “still very much traumatised” and that it was imperative that Arps, who maintains his anti-Muslim rhetoric, cannot visit or be seen around mosques nationwide.
Corrections also expressed concern over Arps’ business Beneficial Insulation, with its various Nazi symbols and white supremacist messages, and sought a condition that prevents him from using his employment as a platform to promote extreme views.
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