Offender says reporter ‘invited’ threats | Western Magazine
A White Nationalist party associate who harassed a lawyer and a journalist says the victim “invited” the offender, which included a threat to cut him to a pulp.
“It’s nothing but a fly that I keep eliminating,” Nathan Jacob Sykes said during cross-examination at the NSW District Court in Sydney on Thursday.
The 53-year-old Sydney man pleaded guilty to using a transport service to threaten serious harm to Melbourne freelance investigative journalist Luke McMahon and using him to threaten/harass/offend in 2018.
Sykes, who said he had been involved with the Australia First Party since 2014, had previously said he had no recollection of threatening Mr McMahon.
At the time, he said he had panic attacks, a heavy study workload and felt in “extreme danger” after another man made a “gesture of ‘cutting the throat’ outside his home and called him a Nazi.
At his resumption hearing on Thursday, Sykes said Mr McMahon had been “harassing” him for years and had threatened him.
Asked if he blamed Mr McMahon for his offending, Sykes said he blamed the situation on the ‘state apparatus’ after police failed to investigate Sykes’ complaints about the journalist.
When asked if he thought Mr McMahon deserved the offense, he replied “he encouraged him, he invited him”.
Although he said he was not claiming Mr McMahon was connected to the stabbing incident, “it wouldn’t surprise me”.
Sykes accepted a message he sent to Mr McMahon saying ‘expect a surprise’ referring to a proposed visit to his unit and he sent another which included too bad you weren’t at home”.
Australia’s first president James Saleam testified he went to Mr McMahon’s residence in Melbourne in March 2018 with another person who had a video camera, but no one answered the door.
“I intended to speak with Mr. McMahon to get some comments that would be part of an article I intended to post on YouTube,” he said.
He said he left a business card in the mailbox, saying “best wishes to you and your journalistic fabrications”.
He denied that the purpose of the visit had been to intimidate.
Sykes repeated earlier evidence that he would not be involved in similar offenses again, as “I have no intention of ever falling into that trap”.
The prosecutor argued that Sykes had used the legal process “to air his grievances against the victim and the NSW Police”.
Her testimony that the victim invited the trap conduct and comment indicated a “very significant lack of insight” and remorse, she said.
“It seems like he blamed everyone else for his problems.”
The judge could not be sure that Sykes would not reoffend when again confronted with opposing political beliefs.
Sykes’ attorney urged the judge not to impose a full-time custodial sentence, saying the offense was at the lowest level of seriousness for such charges.
While the attorney said he was not assaulting the victim, who had not been charged with anything, he said the offenses were put into context to explain his client’s state of mind to the ‘era.
Judge Gina O’Rourke will sentence Sykes on April 1.
Australian Associated Press