A Christchurch businessman who shared a video of worshippers being shot dead at a New Zealand mosque was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in prison.
Philip Arps had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video, which was livestreamed on Facebook by a gunman on 15 March as he began the shooting at two mosques in which 51 people died.
Christchurch district court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said that when questioned about the video, Arps had described it as “awesome” and had shown no empathy toward the victims.
The judge said Arps had strong and unrepentant views about the Muslim community and had, in effect, committed a hate crime. The judge said Arps had compared himself to Rudolf Hess, a Nazi leader under Adolf Hitler.
“Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred,” the judge said.
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has helped lead a global pledge named the “Christchurch Call”, aimed at boosting efforts to keep internet platforms from being used to spread hate, organise extremist groups and broadcast attacks. New Zealand has also tightened its gun laws and banned certain types of semi-automatic weapons since the attack.
O’Driscoll said Arps had sent the video to 30 associates. The judge said Arps also asked somebody to insert crosshairs and include a kill count in order to create an internet meme, although there was no evidence he had shared the meme.
Under New Zealand laws aimed at preventing the distribution of objectionable material, Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count.