A 25-year-old Sydney man who sent 55 messages to women on Facebook, one of which referenced raping feminists, has escaped jail time after pleading guilty to a charge of using a carriage service to menace, harass, or offend.
Zane Alchin sent the messages after an acquaintance shared a derogatory message about a woman he saw on Tinder, shaming her for using a sexually explicit quote in her bio on the dating site. The quote was itself derived from a lyric by rapper Drake.
Alchin subsequently entered the fray, attacking the women after they had defended their friend.
Today Alchin was sentenced to a 12-month good behaviour bond by at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, meaning he will avoid any jail time, but will have a conviction recorded.
Alchin had initially entered a plea of not guilty, which was subsequently reversed.
In court today, Alchin’s lawyer argued he had already suffered extra-curial punishment because of the high level of media interest in his case, as well as the online blow-back he received after making the comments, which subsequently went viral. She compared the coverage of the case to that endured by Harriet Wran, and accused the media of inaccuracies.
Alchin’s girlfriend has been forced to take time off work for fear of harassment, and Alchin has been seeing a counsellor.
“The irony is he’s become a far greater victim of the crime,” his lawyer told the Court.
A witness statement filed as part of the case recorded some of Alchin’s comments to women in the thread, including the following:
- “I’d rape you if you were better looking but I wouldn’t fuck you a nimbus”
- “You know the best thing about a feminist they don’t get any action so when you rape them it feels 100 times tighter”
- “If you sucked my dick I’d slap your over the back of the head after it so you’d spit my cum out you ain’t worthy of swallowing my jizz”
- “If anything you’ve proven the only thing good about a women’s mouth is useful for is to get face fucked till she turns blue then have a man hot load straight down it”
- “Hahahah your going to die alone and miserable with a dried up cunt and ovaries that never got used”
- “Say something back you fucking moles I’ve got sooooo much more to give and I’ll start with my cock in your grandmas ass”
- “A spade is a spade and being politically correct is a mental illness”
Alchin’s lawyer argued he had not made an actual threat to rape, and the presiding Magistrate agreed he had not incited rape. His lawyer then argued Alchin had in fact tried to calm the situation, pointing to a comment in which he clarified that he didn’t actually intend to rape anybody as evidence.
She also read a number of unpleasant messages shared on social media made in relation to Alchin to the Court, including one in which a man said he needed his head kicked in. A number of other violent comments were made, and Alchin was also called a “fuck boi”, and an “IRL pee stain”. One woman messaged him telling him he was complicit in violence against women.
“In his mind he was defending his friend against these feminists,” Alchin’s lawyer said today, referring to Newton and the women who had commented on the original post.
“We say he was doing it to be deliberately offensive, there was no truth in his words.”
Alchin was drinking during the incident, which occurred just after midday, and told police that he had sourced some of the comments he made from anti-feminist websites.
In response to examples of abuse Alchin had received, a police prosecutor told the court: “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
He rejected the claim that the offending was as a result of the intoxication.
Magistrate Pierce described Alchin’s comments as “quite disgusting”, but also compared Alchin’s reaction to a footballer who uses too much force on the field. He said the section of law Alchin had breached was originally intended to cover things like phone conversations.
“But now there is a whirling maelstrom of hate and all sorts of unpleasantness which circulates on the net in institutions like Facebook,” Magistrate Pierce said.
“My view is the closest analogy is a game of football. If you’re on the football field you consent to a few bumps… you don’t consent to being king hit with a savage right hook that knocks you out for 10 minutes – you with me?”
Alchin replied that he was.
“Your sexually explicit comments were the equivalent to socking someone in the jaw with a solid right hook – you overdid it.”
Pierce was earlier forced to clarify what the term ‘inboxing’ meant.
The victim in the case, Paloma Brierley Newton, was present for the sentencing with a number of supporters, including the woman whose Tinder bio had been mocked originally.
At one point, Pierce referred to the quote shared in the bio as “a somewhat inflammatory comment”, causing Newton and her supporters to gasp in anger.
Outside the Court, Newton said she believed the result was appropriate but “the way that it was handled by the Judge was questionable”.
“I hope that the precedent that is set to men is that there is no point in attacking us any more because we will stand up, and you can’t turn around and tell me I’m attacking you for standing up for myself,” she said.
After hearing that Newton had called for people to push back against Alchin and contact him after his comments, Pierce said Newton had taken part in “a vast overreaction”.
Newton said the group that has formed around the case had always encouraged followers not to fight “fire with fire”.
“Not once did I ever incite violence, not once did I ever threaten anyone,” she said.
After another man named ‘Zane’ was wrongly targeted, Newton took a call from his family and apologised.
She said the excuses put to the Court by Alchin’s lawyers had been “an absolute slap across the face to women around Australia.”
In Court, Alchin’s lawyer said he had tried to contact Newton via a friend after the incident to express remorse, but Newton told reporters she was yet to receive any apology from him.
“All I’ve seen him do today is stare me down every single second he got the opportunity,” she said.
See New Matilda’s original report on the incident that sparked the case here.
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