Desmond Liddington, a neo-Nazi extremist who pleaded guilty to his part in the attack on the home of Black Lives Matter activist Padraic “Paddy” Gibson, has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail with a non-parole period of 18 months.
Liddington was sentenced in the Sutherland local court yesterday for his role in the attack. He was one of three men who attacked Gibson’s Arncliffe home on 4 December 2021. The men, dressed in clothing with nationalist insignia, ripped a security screen off a front window and smashed in the glass.
All three men have been charged over the attack on Gibson’s house. Liddington’s co-accused, Max Ferrer, pleaded guilty and recently received a non-custodial sentence. The third man has pleaded not guilty and will face trial on 21 March 2023.
In sentencing, the Magistrate specifically noted that the offence was “motivated by hatred or prejudice” indicating that the offences were more serious, and should be judged as “race/hate crimes”.
Liddington and his co-accused were described as being members of Firm 22 “who hold extreme right-wing views and adhere to white supremacist ideology”. The Magistrate found there was “a degree of planning behind the attack” and that they had “committed crimes based on their right-wing beliefs”. Liddington was identified as the leader of Firm 22.
Anti-fascist organisations believe that Firm 22 was also behind the attacks on homeless Indigenous people in Sydney in 2021.
“This case has exposed the existence of a violent neo-Nazi street gang, Firm 22, that is actively recruiting and is confident to carry out attacks here in Sydney, with a membership base up and down the coast,” said Gibson.
“They pose a serious danger to anyone who doesn’t conform to their fantasy of White Australia and must be shut down. It’s good that Liddington has faced a jail sentence for what was obviously a race/hate crime. But strong sentences will not be enough to deal with the threat of the far right.
“In recent weeks, Premier Dominic Perrottet has stated that it was ‘pleasing’ to see that climate activist Violet Coco had been sentenced to 15 months in prison for peacefully blocking a road. But Liddington’s co-accused Max Ferrer was recently given a non-custodial sentence for the violent and destructive attack on our house.
“Where is Perrottet’s condemnation and call for action against the far-right thugs that have grown in confidence under his government?
“Neo-nazi groups have been able to grow in Australia because of the political environment created by racist policy and rhetoric coming from conservative politicians. Anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racism has been a cornerstone of conservative politics for decades.
“Ten Jewish headstones in a South Maitland cemetery were spray-painted with the Nazi symbol just last weekend, while neo-Nazis were recorded giving the Nazi salute on Elwood beach in Victoria in January this year.
“Aboriginal people are subject to dehumanising policies like the NT Intervention, while the Black Lives Matter movement has been demonised. Aboriginal people continue to die in custody without those responsible being held to account,” Gibson added.
“Everyone must remain vigilant. We haven’t let this attack stop our ongoing efforts to fight racism.
“Support from our multicultural neighbourhood, our friends, family, colleagues and union workmates, including efforts to fundraise for security upgrades on our house, has been amazing.
“We express solidarity with all victims of far right violence, particularly people of colour and LGTBI people.”