THREE men have been charged with religious vilification for staging a mock beheading in front of the City of Greater Bendigo offices last year.
A 34-year-old from Frankston, a 45-year-old from Wallan and a 31-year-old from South Morang are facing four charges for the incident on October 4.
Detectives from the Bendigo Crime Investigation Unit pressed the charges last week.
The three men were charged with “the making of a video with the intention of inciting serious contempt for, or revulsion, or severe ridicule” of a person or class of people – a charge brought under the 2001 Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
They were also charged with defacing the footpath in front of the council offices on Lyttleton Terrace, and willful damage for causing $1100 to the footpath, wall and garden bed.
The fourth charge was for behaving in an offensive manner in public.
The men were prominent members of a far-right group, and created a video of the mock beheading to promote an anti-mosque rally in Bendigo.
One of the men read out their charges in a Facebook video, describing the stunt as “bring(ing) a little cultural diversity to Bendigo”.
He said they used plastic knives, food colouring and a dummy made of pillows for the video.
He signaled his intention to fight the charges.
The three men have been summonsed to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on March 6 next year.