White supremacist who shared Christchurch Mosque massacre video gets 21 months in prison

A Christchurch businessman who shared a video of worshippers being slaughtered at a New Zealand mosque was sentenced on Tuesday to 21 months in prison.

A white supremacist businessman who compares himself to Adolf Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess and who spread footage of the Al Noor Mosque attack, which he thought was “awesome”, has today been jailed for 21 months.

Philip Arps, 44, had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of distributing the video, which was livestreamed on Facebook by a gunman on March 15 as he began killing 51 people at two mosques.

At Christchurch District Court this morning, Arps was told by Judge Stephen O’Driscoll that it’s clear he has “strong and unrepentant views towards the Muslim community”

Arps faced up to 14 years imprisonment on each count, according to New Zealand laws designed to prevent people from sharing objectionable material.

The 44-year-old apparently argued he had a right to distribute the video under the banner of freedom to pursue his political beliefs. His lawyer, Anselm Williams, said Arps shouldn’t be sent to prison, and that he filed an appeal against his sentence.

“Your offending glorifies and encourages the mass murder carried out under the pretext of religious and racial hatred,” the judge said, noting that Arps had compared himself to Rudolf Hess, a Nazi leader under Adolf Hitler.

It was, in effect, a hate crime against the Muslim community, the judge said.

Philip Neville Arps – who owned a white supremacist themed insulation company – had earlier pleaded guilty in April to two charges of distributing video footage of the Al Noor Mosque attack.

Arps pleaded guilty to one charge by sending the video of the massacre to around 30 associates, the judge said. He added that He also pleaded guilty to requesting another person add crosshairs and a “kill count” to the video.

Arps is one of six people who have been charged with illegally sharing the livestream of the mass shooting. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quick to jump to action following the attacks, announcing a week later the country was immediately banning “military-style semi-automatic weapons.”

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, pleaded not guilty last week 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 next May.