First man charged over banned Nazi salute says he does it every day

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The first Victorian to be charged with performing a Nazi salute in public says he continues to perform the banned gesture every day.

Jacob Hersant, 24, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday for a mention hearing after he was charged over the October 27 incident.

Jacob Hersant outside the County Court in June. Credit: Luis Ascui

It’s alleged he performed the Nazi salute outside the Victorian County Court six days after it became illegal to intentionally display or perform a Nazi gesture or symbol in public.

Hersant was respectful to the magistrate on Friday as he requested an adjournment of the hearing so he could get legal aid.

But outside court, the 24-year-old told reporters he continues to perform the salute and say “heil Hitler” every day because he’s a national socialist.

“I don’t care if it offends Jews,” Hersant said.

Hersant is due to return to Melbourne Magistrates Court in January for a further mention.

Charge sheets released by the court state that Hersant is accused of intentionally performing a Nazi gesture “whilst knowing that the gesture is a Nazi gesture, and the performance of the gesture occurred in a public place namely outside the Melbourne County Court”.

Under the laws that came into effect in October, those who perform a Nazi salute in public face a fine of more than $23,000 or 12 months in prison.

Police have the power to direct a person to remove a Nazi symbol or gesture from public display, and to arrest and lay charges.

Exceptions apply if the performance or display of a Nazi symbol or gesture is done in good faith for a genuine academic, artistic, educational or scientific purpose.

The Nazi salute is also set to be banned nationally, after the federal government reversed its position on the issue amid pressure from the opposition and community groups.

AAP, with Simone Fox Koob

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