First charges laid over riot text messages

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: 2005 Sydney race riots

Strike Force Enoggera, the group of detectives poised with investigating the recent racially motivated violence across Sydney, has laid its first charges against a man alleged to have forwarded SMS messages encouraging further violence.

New South Wales Police allege that a 33 year-old Matraville man, who was arrested at 9:30PM Wednesday, forwarded "offensive and inciting" text messages following the violence at Cronulla. The man was taken to Maroubra Police Station where he was charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence and a count of print, publish to incite or urge the commission of a crime. He was granted bail and is to appear in Waverley Local Court on 1 February 2006.

It is alleged that the messages were to incite people to turn out at Cronulla on December 18, 2005 for another round of violence.

Strike Force Enoggera commander Dennis Bray has indicated that more arrests will follow. He also said that arrests will not only be made for organising the events but for the "more serious criminal offences" committed during the violence.

The investigations into the violence have been extended further with the Australian Survelliance and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) conducting their own investigation into groups thought to have used the violence to promote their own political agenda.

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