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Australia Weapons accused who allegedly supported Christchurch attack 'fixated' by social media, court hears

18:45  19 may  2020
18:45  19 may  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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An Adelaide father caught with illegal weapons during a police raid triggered by Facebook posts he is alleged to have posted in support of the Christchurch terrorist attack had a "fixation with social media", a court has heard.

Chad Rolf Vinzelberg, 38, will be sentenced in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court later this month after pleading guilty to four counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.

Some of the weapons — a medieval mace and crossbow — were found in his "man cave" during a police search at his Smithfield home.

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Two flick knives and an extendable baton were found under his bed.

The raid was prompted by comments he allegedly made online in support of the Christchurch terrorist attack, in which 51 people were killed on March 19, 2019.

Vinzelberg was not charged in relation to the alleged online comments.

Sarah Willis, for Vinzelberg, told the court that a forensic psychologist found the father-of-three was not a danger to the community.

"She doesn't believe he intended on using the weapons to engage in violence or any other sinister acts against members of the broader Australian community," she said.

"I also do not believe that he's a danger to society."

The court was told that a forensic psychologist stated Vinzelberg's conduct in relation to the posts was a product of "his fixation with social media".

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Ms Willis said the crane driver had suffered hardship following his arrest and the subsequent media interest had cost him his job and reputation.

But Magistrate Nick Alexandrides questioned whether he could take that hardship into account during sentencing because it stemmed from the social media posts, and not the weapons offences.

"That conduct is not before the court," he said.

"What extent, if any, can I take into account that these weapons were held by someone who, at the same time, was disseminating messages of hate over social media towards a particular group?"

But Ms Willis said there was "no evidence" to suggest he was going to use the weapons for that purpose.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Dianne Clarke asked the court to disregard the hardship he suffered from the social media posts because he was never charged over them.

"The nexus between the Facebook posts and the matters before Your Honour is quite thin — one brought about by the discovery of the others," she said.

She accepted the hardship was "part of his personal circumstances" and not relevant to the weapons offences.

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