Corrections bosses are pushing for extra-vigilant release conditions and GPS tracking to monitor an unrepentant white supremacist jailed for "glorifying" the March 15 mosque shootings.

Holocaust-denier and Hitler-admirer Philip Neville Arps, 45, was jailed last June for spreading disturbing footage of the Al Noor Mosque massacre, which he thought was "awesome".

The Christchurch businessman, who owns a Nazi-themed insulation company, has failed to successfully appeal against the 21-month prison sentence which came after he admitted two charges of distributing an objectionable publication following the terror attacks that claimed 51 lives.

But now that his release from prison is looming on Wednesday, the Department of Corrections is applying for extra release conditions, on top of the raft of conditions imposed on him when he was sentenced at Christchurch District Court on June 18.

Advertisement

Corrections officials say they have "ongoing concerns" about Arps' risk to the public, in particular to the Muslim community, due to fears over his "general behavior" towards prison staff, along with intercepted letters and phone calls.

READ MORE:
Dark past of white supremacist Philip Arps jailed over Christchurch mosque shooting video revealed
Mosque shooting video: White supremacist Philip Arps' appeal against jail dismissed

The content of those letters and phone conversations was suppressed by Judge Stephen O'Driscoll at a special hearing over Arps' prison release conditions at Christchurch District Court today.

At the hearing, a Corrections official who works in the high-risk response team and wrote a report seeking more restrictive conditions for Arps' release, said she took concerns over Arps "very seriously".

One of the conditions sought is to electronically-monitor Arps through a GPS tracker, an ankle bracelet that would trigger alerts if he was to enter "exclusion zones" around Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Masjid in Christchurch where the shootings happened.

Philip Arps at a previous appearance. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Philip Arps at a previous appearance. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Another condition would ban Arps from entering or loitering near any mosque, prayer room, or any other place where the Muslim community congregates, without prior written approval from his probation officer. He would also not be allowed to contact or associate with any Muslims without approval.

The Corrections official said the moves were for "victim safety" and felt that jail time hadn't reduced his risk to the Muslim community.

"There has been some concerning ongoing rhetoric from Mr Arps which has led us to believe there is a possible risk of further contact with those victims and we want to limit that," she told the court.

Advertisement

Arps already had special conditions imposed by Judge O'Driscoll who originally sentenced him in June. They include a blanket internet ban, inspections of any electronic device capable of accessing the internet, counselling, and drug or alcohol treatment programmes.

But Arps, who appeared in court today wearing an orange prison tracksuit and represented by defence counsel Anselm Williams, challenged the extra conditions sought by Corrections.

Williams argued that the existing "carefully considered" release conditions would be sufficient and was critical that the Corrections report writer had never met with Arps in person or spoken to him about his views or correspondence.

There was nothing to suggest Arps was a physical threat or at a heightened risk of reoffending, Williams said.

The Corrections official went on to say that Arps, who compares himself to Adolf Hitler's deputy and war criminal Rudolf Hess, found anyone who disagrees with his belief system to be offensive.

She fears he could harm the Muslim community again "through his views … most likely through online advocacy".

Arps, who does not hold a gun licence and has more than 30 previous criminal convictions for indecent assault, guns, drugs, burglary, and fraud, would not be allowed to possess or use firearms, or to be involved in airsoft or BB gun activities if the release conditions were granted.

Corrections also expressed concern over Arps' business Beneficial Insulation, with its various Nazi symbols and white supremacist messages, and sought a condition that prevents him from using his employment as a platform to promote extreme views.

The Muslim Association of Canterbury supported the extra release conditions, saying the community is "still very much traumatised" and says it's imperative that Arps, who maintains his anti-Muslim rhetoric, cannot visit or be seen around mosques nationwide.

Judge O'Driscoll reserved his decision until Wednesday afternoon.

Arps was jailed last year for sharing raw footage from the accused shooter's livestream to approximately 30 people on a social media messaging service, and for having another version of it modified to have crosshairs and a "kill count" added.

It was, in effect, a hate crime against the Muslim community, the judge said.

When he was arrested and asked by police about the victims' deaths, Arps replied, "I could not give a f***, mate".

In 2016, Arps was one of a group of men who filmed themselves doing Hitler salutes as they delivered boxes of pigs heads and offal to the Al Noor mosque.

"White power … Bring on the cull," Arps was seen saying in the video.

In that case, he was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined $800.