Alleged terror offender’s manifesto revealed
A man who took two hostages and fired a hail of bullets into the air was carrying a manifesto in which he promised to “make the Cronulla riots look like a kindergarten field trip”, a court has been told.
Simon Fleming, 41, is standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court where he has pleaded not guilty to committing a terrorist act, which the Crown alleges was motivated by right-wing ideology.
It was expected that Mr Fleming would raise a defence of mental health impairment, Justice Helen Wilson told the jury on day one of the trial on Wednesday.
The court has been told that on the morning of November 28, 2021, Mr Fleming left his home at Windang, just south of Wollongong, dressed in black and carrying two guns – a rifle and a gel blaster – as well as a fake bomb.
The court was told that on Windang Rd, he fired several bullets into the air – one that pierced a Colorbond roof 2.8km away – as well as into a passing vehicle.
He also took two people hostage in a dive shop before letting both men go and surrendering to police following an hour-long stand-off.
No one was harmed in the incident.
Justice Wilson told the jury that she expected they would be asked to decide whether Mr Fleming was impaired by mental illness at the time and that affected his understanding of the events.
The court was told that Mr Fleming had been referred to a psychiatrist in 2008 and was prescribed antipsychotic medication.
Crown prosecutor James Renwick SC told the court that on the Friday before the incident, Mr Fleming took three days’ worth of medication and felt ill.
He attempted to get a top-up on his prescription from a chemist on the Sunday – the day of the stand-off – however was denied.
Dr Renwick told the court that when Mr Fleming surrendered to police, he was found in possession of a USB stick that contained his “manifesto”.
Dr Renwick told the court that in the document, Mr Fleming said: “Muslim gangs can rape our children and nobody can say anything because you are a racist.”
It also said “feminism is killing the white western male” and made reference to an event that would “make the Cronulla riots look like a kindergarten field trip”.
The court was told that Mr Fleming also railed against people who identified as transgender, saying, “I don’t see them as human beings.”
“If you think I’ll sit back and watch my beloved country slip into totalitarianism, you’re sadly mistaken,” he also said in the manifesto, the court was told.
Dr Renwick told the jury that the manifesto expressed concern about the “demise” of “Anglo-Saxon men” and “Western Christian culture”.
The court was told that Mr Fleming collected Nazi and Second World War memorabilia and was concerned about Australia’s direction during Covid restrictions.
The court was told that Mr Fleming was wearing black army fatigues when he left his home around 9.30am and walked into the centre of town where he took his hostages.
The jury was told that as he walked down the main street of Windang he told one woman: “No need to call the police, I am the police.”
He also carried a silver case that was made to look like an improvised explosive device but was in fact harmless.
He went into the dive shop at Windang and took two men hostage.
“He told them he had a bomb,” Dr Renwick said.
The court also heard that Mr Fleming told the hostages: “I’m a terrorist.”
The jury was told that when arrested, Mr Fleming told officers: “I wanted the government of this country to stop f***ing with our people, we’re under attack.”
Dr Renwick said during his opening remarks that Mr Fleming gave to police a very detailed account of what he did and why.
During a search of Mr Fleming’s home, police found several gel blasters as well as registered weapons.
He also told police that he had planned to take with him a sign saying “Australia for a Republic”; however, he forgot to take it and it was later discovered by police.
Police body-worn footage played to the court on Wednesday showed the moments the hostages were released and Mr Fleming’s arrest.
“Have you got any weapons on you, Simon?” one officer says in the vision.
“We’re not going to hurt you,” Mr Fleming is told by police as he is led away and his pockets are emptied of bullets, a knife and a blue USB stick.
The trial continues.