An unrepentant white supremacist with Nazi sympathies who spread a Christchurch mosque shooting video has received death threats while behind bars and has criminal convictions for indecent assault, guns, drugs, and fraud, the Herald can reveal.
Philip Neville Arps, who compares himself to Adolf Hitler's deputy and war criminal Rudolf Hess, was jailed for 21 months today.
Court documents show that 44-year-old Arps – a former member of the Arian Legion far-right group - has been isolated in custody for 23 hours per day and has been the subject of death threats.
The Herald can also reveal that Arps has more than 30 criminal convictions dating back to the early 1990s, including an indecent assault on a woman in 1999.
He also has convictions for possessing offensive weapons, unlawfully carrying an imitation firearm, drugs, fraud, burglary, theft and common assault.
An examination report conducted by police forensics experts, seen by the Herald, reveal Arps' fascination with white supremacy ideology.
On his devices, police found photos relating to the Nazis, Adolf Hitler, the KKK, and "anti-Semitic content".
They also found a photograph of Arps posing in a Hitler T-shirt in Cathedral Square in Christchurch along with electronic versions of Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf and an "improvised munitions handbook".
Wearing an orange prison tracksuit in the dock, Arps this morning smiled, agreed with the judge when he described him as being remorseless, and interrupted him at times, while family members sobbed in the public gallery.
By spreading a video of the March 15 attack, and also having another version modified to have crosshairs and a "kill count" added, Arps "glorified" the shootings, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll said.
And by distributing the video the day after attack showed callousness and a "particular cruelty on your part".
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".
Fifty-one people died in the attack on two Christchurch mosques on March 15. The first attack at the Al Noor mosque was livestreamed on Facebook.
Arps had previously pleaded guilty to one charge of sharing raw footage from the accused shooter's livestream to approximately 30 people on Facebook.
He also pleaded guilty to requesting another person add crosshairs and a "kill count" to the video.
The court heard he intended to distribute this modified footage as a meme based on video games like Call of Duty.
A police statement said Arps had called the modified footage "awesome" and showed no empathy for the people killed. Arps said he thought his changes to the video would lighten it up and make it funny.
A pre-sentence report showed he has no empathy or remorse other than for himself and his own family, the judge said.
Judge O'Driscoll said there were other matters in the pre-sentence report which gave him real concern and he didn't want to mention them all publicly as it might be seen by Arps as "a badge of honour" to him and others with similar beliefs.
He gave one example where Arps compared himself to Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess.
The pre-sentence report also noted that he was at a high risk of reoffending.
The court heard that Arps also believes that the mainstream media is corrupt and owned by Zionist media groups.
Arps was jailed for 21 months. The judge said he was not prepared to convert it to an electronically-monitored sentence - saying the primary purpose of sentencing was one of denunciation and deterrence. He also said Arps' "entrenched views suggest he is not amenable to rehabilitation".
Through his lawyer Anselm Williams, Arps has today appealed his sentence to the High Court.
Williams said during sentencing that the court needed to be "very careful" to sentence Arps on what it is he's actually done and not on the basis of the views that he holds.
While Arps holds views that are not necessarily what the majority of the members of public believe, Williams said they are views to which he is nonetheless entitled to hold and express as long as he doesn't overstep the line and commit a criminal offence.
Arps did not distribute the video after the Chief Censor had ruled it as objectionable, there was clear evidence that Arps had received four videos on April 17 and had deleted them, and there was nothing to link him to a terrorist organisation, his lawyer said.
Today, Arps also complained about the impact his arrest has had on his business. He owns an insulation company called Beneficial Insulation – which features a Nazi symbol as its logo and uses other white supremacist symbols in its marketing.
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.