A security guard arrested after police investigating race riots found weapons in his Sydney home appeared in court Tuesday, where a prosecutor said he had links to white supremacists. Andrew Sanders, 25, was arrested Monday after police found an unlicensed pistol, smoke grenades and pepper spray in a raid on his home.
He also had been held Sunday night along with four other youths, after police allegedly found petrol and other materials for making fuel bombs in his car.
During Sanders' appearance at Penrith Local Court in western Sydney, police prosecutor Jonathan Falzon said the security guard had logged onto a white supremacist Web site. Falzon also said that when police stopped the car Falzon was riding in Sunday night, they found a two-way radio tuned to a channel being used by a white supremacist group called Fightback to update supporters on a protest in the aftermath of a race riot a week earlier.
Sanders has been charged with five counts of possessing a prohibited weapon, an unauthorized pistol, and possessing a means of disguising his face with intent to commit an indictable offense. He was not required to enter pleas. "It's apparent that there are racial motivations behind what transpired there at Brighton," Falzon told the court.
He said a 25 liter (6.6 gallon) drum of petrol, gloves, a first aid kit, a knife, utility belt, masks, police riot helmets and documentation relating to the Fightback Web site were found in the car. Falzon called on Magistrate Ian McRay to refuse to release Sanders on bail.
But defense lawyer Phil Gibson said the prosecution case was weak and denied Sanders was a white supremacist. McRay was expected make a decision on whether to release Sanders on bail later Tuesday. Sanders was arrested a week after rioting by 5,000 white youths erupted in the beachside suburb of Cronulla following a gathering to protest the beating a week earlier of two volunteer life savers by a gang of men witnesses described as of Lebanese descent.
The riot sparked two nights of retaliatory attacks by carloads of youths of Middle Eastern appearance, shocking this city of 4 million that had prided itself on being a successful multiracial melting pot, reports the AP. I.L.