Two Neo-Nazis Avoid Further Jail Time in Shocking Hiker Attack Case

Melbourne, Victoria – Victorian prosecutors are pushing for harsher penalties for two neo-Nazis involved in a violent attack on hikers in the Cathedral Range State Park. Thomas Sewell and Jacob Hersant escaped further jail time for their roles in a group assault on six hikers in 2021, but prosecutors argue that the severity of the offense warrants stricter punishment.

Sewell, 31, and Hersant, 25, were part of a group of far-right nationalists who participated in an attack where some members donned masks and wielded knives. The hikers’ car was damaged, and they were forced to flee in a terrifying ordeal. Chief Crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane KC emphasized the gravity of the situation, labeling it a serious example of violent disorder.

Despite initially being denied bail, Sewell served 210 days behind bars before being released pending the court case. Judge Kellie Blair handed him a 37-day prison sentence for violent disorder, reasoning that his time served was sufficient punishment. Hersant, who spent three days in jail, was not given additional prison time but was ordered to complete 200 hours of community work.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has challenged Judge Blair’s decision, arguing that the sentences were insufficient. Both men showed no remorse for their actions, raising concerns about the possibility of future violent offenses. The appeal is now in the hands of three Court of Appeal judges who will deliver their ruling at a later date.

Defense barristers for Sewell and Hersant maintained that the appeal was unwarranted, with Sewell’s lawyer arguing his client deserved a sentencing discount for pleading guilty. Sewell’s time in solitary confinement during the pandemic was described as incredibly challenging, but Sewell himself depicted his prison experience as a period of reflection when questioned by reporters.

In a separate incident, Hersant was charged with making a Nazi salute minutes after being released from court last year. The case is ongoing, with Hersant pleading not guilty. This episode adds to a pattern of concerning behavior, as Sewell was previously involved in an assault outside a television network’s headquarters.

The Court of Appeal justices, after hearing evidence, are deliberating on the appropriate course of action regarding Sewell and Hersant. The outcome of the appeal will determine whether the two men will face stricter penalties for their roles in the violent attack on hikers, highlighting the ongoing legal battle over the incident.