Sam Dastyari’s far-right abuser gets suspended fine for contempt | Australia news


A far-right activist faces the threat of a hefty fine over an online video in which the former senator Sam Dastyari was called a “terrorist” and a “monkey” at a Melbourne pub.

Neil Erikson was fined $10,000 on Friday for contempt but the penalty was suspended on the condition he does not upload any more content featuring his former employer, the freight company Toll Group.

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Erikson was found guilty of contempt in February after uploading a video that showed him in a Toll uniform ambushing Dastyari, defying previous court orders against publishing images or videos of himself wearing the company’s clothing.

The federal circuit court judge Suzanne Jones made the order in December, which applies to non-employees of Toll.

The company is suing Erikson, alleging he was deliberately trying to damage its brand.

By publishing the video featuring Dastyari, Erikson was found to have broken the court order.

The contempt finding also related to Twitter photos that showed him with his associate Ricky Turner in a Toll uniform, despite Turner never having been a Toll employee.

The video, posted on Erikson’s YouTube page, shows him ambushing the Iranian-born Dastyari at a Footscray pub book launch in November, when the then politician was called a “terrorist”.

The footage shows an exchange between Erikson and a woman next to the former senator.

“Is this sort of activity sanctioned by Toll?” she asks.

Erikson replies: “I thought Labor were for working-class Aussies, mate. You don’t like free speech?”

The woman replies: “Whatever you do in your uniform, you’re actually representing your employer.”

Erikson stopped working for Toll in 2014 but worked for them again in Tasmania in 2017 before being sacked.

The case is due to return to court on Tuesday for a directions hearing.

In 2017, Erikson, United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell and Christopher Neil Shortis were convicted and fined for inciting contempt and ridicule of Muslims.



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