Not all Aussies are this nuts
Kate Lahey of Australia's News.com.au has issued the following report:
A heavy metal fan who torched a century-old church showed no remorse because the band he listened to preached that regret was weak, a court heard today.
Novak Majstorovic, 19, of St Albans in suburban Melbourne, pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to burglary and arson, and will be sentenced early next month.
He admitted breaking into the Uniting Church in Moonee Ponds and burning it down on August 28 last year, after drinking bourbon and scotch.
Majstorovic was a fan of the Norwegian band BURZUM, and had adopted its anti-Christian, anti-church philosophies, the court was told.
The band espoused strength and competitiveness, saying "pity and its allies produce weak people," Judge Jeanette Morrish said today, reading from a psychiatric report on Majstorovic.
BURZUM founder Varg Vikernes — whose philosophies were borrowed from Nordic mythology, and rejected Christianity — was believed to be in jail for murder, the court heard.
The psychiatric report said Majstorovic did not have a mental illness but "his adopted philosophy sees a sense of remorse as a sign of weakness."
Giving evidence today, the church's former organist, Timothy Baker, said the fire had forced parishioners and community groups to find new venues.
An Anglican church was the congregation's temporary site, he said.
The blaze that started with the burning of the Bible near the pulpit caused more than $3 million worth of damage, prosecutor Chris Beale told the court.
The fire destroyed the 1896 building, its pipe organ, leadlight windows and other features that were historic, symbolic and largely irreplaceable, Mr Beale said.
Mr Beale told today's pre-sentence hearing that Majstorovic was drinking at a nearby party when he said to a friend: "Bye, I'm going to burn down the church."
He told a friend days later that he had torched the church to "open up the congregation's eyes," Mr Beale said.
"They take for granted they can go to church every Sunday but they don't stop to think about why they go to church," Majstorovic told his friend.
Mr Beale and Majstorovic's counsel, Rob Stary, both argued the accused should be sent to a youth training centre instead of an adult prison.
Mr Stary said his client had been naive and immature, had provided police an early confession and had not listened to BURZUM for six months.
He said Majstorovic did not have a calculated plan to burn the church.
Mr Stary said the music his client was influenced by was referred to as death metal or black metal.
Majstorovic was "influenced by certain bands and certain ideological positions," and he had acted without knowing the scale of damage he would cause, he said.
But Judge Morrish said she was not convinced Majstorovic had shown any remorse.
"This has all the hallmarks of a terrible hate crime with no remorse ... and I am really, really horrified by it," she said.
Judge Morrish adjourned the sentencing to September 2, to allow Majstorovic to be assessed for a youth training centre.
However, she said she had not ruled out sending him to jail, which would allow for a longer sentence than a maximum three years in youth detention.