Businessman jailed for sharing Christchurch shooting video

Businessman jailed for sharing Christchurch shooting video

Philip Arps has been jailed for 21 months

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Christchurch businessman who shared a video of worshippers being killed at a New Zealand mosque has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.

Philip Arps had pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video to 30 associates which was livestreamed on Facebook by gunman Brenton Tarranton as he began killing 51 people at two mosques.

Christchurch District Court Judge Stephen O’Driscoll said that when questioned, Arps had described the video as “awesome” and had shown no empathy towards the victims.

The court heard Arps had strong and unrepentant views about Muslims and 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 O'Driscoll said.

Arps had also asked somebody to insert crosshairs and include a kill count to create an internet meme, though there was no evidence he 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.

Arps' lawyer Anselm Williams argued his client had a right to distribute the video under a freedom to pursue his political beliefs and should not be jailed.

"It's my submission that this court needs to be very careful to sentence Mr Arps based on what it is that he has actually done, and what he accepts he has done; not on the basis of the views that he holds," Mr Williams said.

Arps is to appeal his sentence 

Tarrant, 28, last week pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in the mosque shooting case. His trial has been scheduled for May 2020.

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