Two Melbourne brothers who filmed a series of prank videos including fake drive-by shootings and suicide bomb stunts have been ordered to attend a six-month diversion program.
- Brothers pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive manner in public
- Filmed prank videos of suicide bomb stunts, drive-by shootings
- Apologised in court for creating fear in community
Mariwan Jalal, 20, and his brother Arman Jalal, 18, pleaded guilty to behaving in an offensive manner in public.
Two other charges were dropped.
Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg said the men had posted their prank videos on the internet, and while they had used actors and friends for their stunts, they had crossed the line and could have caused fear and anxiety.
“If a member of society was casually walking along and witnessed the events depicted on the video it could understandably give rise to a frightening experience, especially given the seeming use of a firearm and the reaction of the actors as victims,” he told the brothers.
“Fear is contagious, even if it is being play acted.”
Magistrate Rozencwajg said he would “hate to think that in Australia we would ever reach such a state where there is no room for legitimate and appropriate comment through satire”, which added to the debate of any issue.
“However there is a line that needs to be respected,” he said.
“Where such comment is expressed in a manner that gives rise to apprehension, anxiety or increased tensions within society, that line is crossed.”
Court action a ‘really good wake-up call’
In an unusual move, the magistrate allowed a television news camera into court to film the brothers’ public apology.
He warned the pair not to take the lead from actor Johnny Depp and his partner, following their widely-criticised video apology to an Australian court for flouting quarantine rules when they illegally brought pet dogs Pistol and Boo to the Gold Coast last year.
Mariwan Jalal spoke first, saying he was sorry for any fear and anxiety caused by his behaviour in the community.
“Our primary goal was to entertain people through satirical comedy,” he said.
“It’s obvious that in the past we have not made the best decisions… although this has been a really good wakeup call for us.
“We plan on pursuing a career in entertainment with better choices and more responsibility.”
Arman Jalal said he agreed with everything his older brother had said.
“I am also sorry for any fear or concern that we may have caused to anybody,” he said.
“Thank you for the opportunity for diversion.” Magistrate Rozencwajg noted the brothers had a “successful future” ahead of them and ordered them to be of good behaviour for six months.