Neo-Nazi extremist Desmond Liddington pleaded guilty on February 6 to his part in the 2021 attack on the home of anti-racist activist Padraic ‘Paddy’ Gibson. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail, with a non-parole period of 18 months.
Liddington and two others attacked Gibson’s home. The men, dressed in clothing with nationalist insignia, ripped a security screen off a front window and smashed the glass.
All three have been charged. Liddington’s co-accused, Max Ferrer, pleaded guilty and received a non-custodial sentence. The third man pleaded not guilty and will face trial on March 21.
The Magistrate noted that the offence was “motivated by hatred or prejudice” and that they 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 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 First Nations 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,” Gibson said.
“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.”
Gibson criticised New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet’s statement that it was “pleasing” that climate activist Violet Coco had been sentenced to 15 months in jail for peacefully blocking a road.
“Liddington’s co-accused, Max Ferrer, was given a non-custodial sentence for the violent and destructive attack on our house. Where is Perrottet’s condemnation … [of] the far-right thugs that have grown in confidence under his government?”
He said neo-Nazi groups have been able to grow because of the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies from conservatives.
“Aboriginal people are subject to dehumanising policies, like the Northern Territory 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 said.
These attacks must not stop “our ongoing efforts to fight racism”, Gibson concluded.