The 64-year-old narrowly avoided jail with the imprisonment suspended on the condition he enter a surety of $2500.
He was also convicted of a mid-range drink-driving offence for which he was currently serving a one-year good behaviour bond at the time when he racially abused the retiring Senator on May 28. For the driving offence he was fine $900 and disqualified from driving for six months.
The sacked Liberal Party branch secretary told police he “had a brain snap and went off like a firecracker” when he racially vilified Ms Peris in a vile rant on Facebook, a court has heard.
At his sentencing hearing today at Woy Woy Local Court his solicitor, David Kelly, said he had learnt a “fairly cognitive” lesson about his “foolish actions” which have shamed himself, his family and left his business of nearly 20 years a “shadow” of its former self.
“He has been greatly educated in how to use Facebook,” Mr Kelly said.
His solicitor told the court Nelson had undergone an operation for prostate cancer and was a diabetic who suffered depression when he got into what he thought was a closed chat group.
“He had been discussing political matters with others and he instructs me he became wound up,” Mr Kelly said.
“He told police in his recorded interview, ‘I had a brain snap and went off like a firecracker’.
“He was asked, ‘are you sorry for what you did? He replied: ‘absolutely’.”
Mr Kelly told the court the sacked Woy Woy Liberal Party branch secretary had written “a letter of apology” to Ms Peris, which he was going to send via the more traditional means of post and that he “regretted” his ugly online slur.
He said Nelson tried to delete the comments but he was “not overly familiar with the workings of Facebook” and “he was certainly not aware of the far-reaching implications”.
“This conduct is very much out of character,” Mr Kelly said. “His business is now a shadow of what it formally was.”
The court heard Nelson had been married twice, had three adult children and mortgage repayments of $1100 a month.
Mr Kelly asked Magistrate Robert Williams to consider his 20 years’ volunteer work with Rotary, which had seen him raise “over $200,000 for charity”, his otherwise good character, his remorse and his early guilty plea in sentencing.
Dressed in black cargo pants, green polo shirt and dark jacket, Nelson said nothing during his brief appearance in which Mr Kelly conceded he was currently serving a 12-month Section 10 good behaviour bond for a mid-range drink-driving offence in July last year at the time of his ugly rant on May 28.
Nelson’s contrition was a far cry from when, hiding behind a keyboard, he spewed forth a vicious, unprovoked and racially motivated attack at the outgoing Labor Senator calling Ms Peris a “black c***”.
“Go back to the bush and suck on witchity (sic) grubs and yams. Stop painting your f***ing face with white s*** in parliament. Other than being a runner you are nothing,” he wrote.
In a further post he said he was not sorry for his earlier remarks.
“Why don’t you go and spend some time at Arrakun with the rest of your Abo mates belting the crap out of one another?” he wrote.
“I am not sorry for what has happened in the past, if it wasn’t for the non existent stolen generation, you would have probably been raped by your father or another male relative or worse still, been killed. So as I’ve said before f**** off you black c*** we don’t need or want you.”
When confronted about the vile rant two days later at his Woy Woy chiropractic practice he told the Express Advocate he had been the victim of an “extremely vicious” hacking attack.
“I was clearly hacked,” Nelson told the Express Advocate. “I’m definitely not a racist. I’ve got friends who are Aboriginal and family who are Aboriginal.”
He even went as far as blaming South Korean hackers for earlier breaches of his social media accounts.
“About three weeks ago I got a notification from Facebook about someone from South Korea trying to hack my account,” he said. “Hackers are just a pain in the arse; the same as people who send out computer viruses. They just try to create mayhem and they succeed.”
However, he capitulated when detectives came knocking at his Victoria Rd practice just hours later and made full admissions to the posts, which wreaked their own kind of mayhem with 15,000 shares, 26,000 likes and 3000 comments of support for Ms Peris when she shared it on her public account saying “racism stops with me” and later “to show the ugly side of this country”.
Nelson pleaded guilty last month to one count of using a carriage service to cause offence.
“He made admissions to police for the post and stated he was motivated not by racism but due to government policies concerning illegal immigration and welfare payments to persons of aboriginal heritage,” police facts read.
Nelson has been on bail since his arrest on May 30 under the condition that he “not use social media in any capacity”.
In uncontested facts, police urged the court to consider the offence as racially aggravated.
“This appears to be a bias motivated crime (racial) and if the accused is convicted, it is encouraged that the court implement section 21A of the Crimes (Sentencing procedure) Act 1999 which stipulates that offences such as this have an aggravating feature,” the facts read.