Extremist bailed to appeal abuse sentence

Neil Erikson (centre) has been freed on bail after surrendering himself to serve a jail sentence.
Neil Erikson (centre) has been freed on bail after surrendering himself to serve a jail sentence.

Far-right extremist Neil Erikson has been freed on bail just two hours after surrendering himself to serve a 10-week prison sentence for hurling homophobic abuse in a church.

Erikson, 36, was sentenced on Friday to 70 days behind bars after marching into the queer-friendly Metropolitan Community Church in Hawthorn in May 2019.

He asked those inside if they "married Sodomites" before declaring "You're not Christians you're a bunch of f*****s" while live-streaming his tirade.

Magistrate Angela Bolger described Erikson's incursion as "confronting", "provocative" and "insulting".

She said while he had the right to be as "wilfully ignorant as he chooses", he didn't have the right to disturb a lawful religious gathering.

"It's appalling and shameful conduct, but I suspect you might be beyond shame, because you've done this before," Ms Bolger told Erikson.

He was sentenced during an online Melbourne Magistrates Court hearing and ordered to hand himself in on Monday afternoon.

Having filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence, Erikson sought bail during a brief hearing two hours after being taken into custody.

Prosecutors said Erikson was entitled to bail unless they could prove he was an unacceptable risk and given he had surrendered himself they couldn't prove that.

Ms Bolger agreed to release him on bail with the condition that he continue to reside at his home in Wonthaggi.

The case will return to court at a later date.

Australian Associated Press