A 25-year-old gave the ‘rock on’ hand symbol leaving court today after he was sentenced for directing sexually explicit comments — including one about raping feminists — towards a woman on Facebook.
But it’s the comments of Magistrate William Pierce that are arguably the most shocking today.
Zane Alchin was charged over a string of disgusting comments including, “You know the best thing about a feminist they don’t get any action so when you rape them it feels 100 times tighter”.
At Sydney’s Downing Centre court, Magistrate Pierce concluded the comments did not amount to a rape threat. He used a football analogy to illustrate the point.
“If you’re on the football field, you consent to a few bumps, so a few mildly explicit comments, in this analogy … your sexually explicit comments were the equivalent of socking someone in the jaw with a right hook,” he said, according to the Guardian.
While he conceded Alchin “overdid it” with his “extremely offensive … very explicit” remarks, he also painted him as a victim in his own right.
“There was a vast over reaction by people including (the victim) who have caused you to experience a great deal of pain which you didn’t deserve for that.”
Alchin posted 55 comments to Facebook in just two hours during one afternoon in August 2015, targeting Olivia Melville, on Facebook after a screenshot of her Tinder profile was shared.
She was called a slut, mocked about her weight and threatened with sexual violence; all while repeatedly being told it was her fault.
Paloma Brierley Newton decided to call out Alchin's despicable behaviour. Source: Facebook
"Your (sic) going to die alone and miserable with a dried up c*nt and ovaries that never got used," he wrote in another comment.
While Alchin did not post the original photo, he was identified as one of the worst offending trolls involved in the online abuse.
Today he was given a 12-month good behaviour bond after he was convicted of using a carrier service to harass, menace or threaten after previously pleading guilty.
At the time, his behaviour was called out by Paloma Brierley Newton, a friend of Ms Melville's, who penned a blistering Facebook post before reporting Alchin to the police.
Paloma's original Facebook post:
Not satisfied with the response she received there, she then went to the media; heading up a group of like-minded young women called Sexual Violence Won't Be Silenced to advocate against violence online and call for a stronger response from the Federal governement and NSW police.
She told Mamamia she was "disillusioned", but not surprised by today's outcome.
"It was incredibly depressing as a young woman to have a judge portray someone who threatened rape as a victim," she said.
"It's all the same. The Stanford rape case, it's the same thing."
For Australian women, Brierley Newton said today's sentencing outcome was "an absolute slap in the face".
She also revealed that at no point did the judge read out any of the comments made by Alchin online, and yet claimed it must have been distressing for him to explain what he'd done to his grandmother.
"The judge explained what he had done in terms of football. This is how white and middle class the room was.
"We were there for a rape [threats] and harassment case and they were talking about football."
Alchin was reportedly still smiling as he entered the court and was chastised by his lawyer for using his smart phone to take photos of the press.
The same lawyer also told the court he was the "far greater victim of the crime", drawing significant ire from one journalist who also compared the hearing to that of Brock Turner.
Alchin was facing up to three years behind bars and while Brierley Newton was angry about the way the hearing went today, she said it was important to remember a conviction had been made, the first of its kind.
"As an advocate it gives us exactly the proof that we needed to show the system is broken," she said.
Paloma previously spoke about the case on The Project (post continues after video):