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Emily Woods

Neo-Nazi guilty of Nine guard beating

Thomas Sewell has been found guilty of injuring a security guard outside Nine Network's building. (Aap Image/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Neo-Nazi leader Thomas Sewell is facing jail time after a magistrate found he was itching for a fight when he injured a Nine Network security guard.

Sewell, 29, leader of the European Australia Movement, appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday where he was found guilty of recklessly causing injury and affray over a 2021 altercation.

After two days of contested hearings, magistrate Stephen Ballek rejected Sewell's arguments of self-defence over his beating of the security guard following a "disgusting racial taunt".

He said Sewell was "itching for a fight" when he visited Nine Network's building in Melbourne on March 1 with a cameraman and demanded to speak to someone from A Current Affair.

He claimed ACA's segment on him that evening showed his group to be terrorists and the program had not contacted him for comment.

After ACA staff declined to meet with Sewell, his cameraman Jacob Hersant began filming Sewell inside the foyer.

The security guard walked over, placed his hand over the camera lens and told the pair to stop filming, directing them to an area in front of the building.

Sewell and Mr Hersant eventually agreed to go outside, but the guard followed them after they started filming near the door.

They finally listened to the directions and moved further away, when the guard began making a dancing-type motion to the camera.

Mr Hersant taunted and mocked the guard, saying: "Dance monkey, dance".

"Watch yourself, bro, I'm not a dance monkey," the guard replied.

He then touched Mr Hersant on his shoulder, in an effort to push him backwards, before Sewell leapt in and began attacking the guard.

The magistrate said the victim had no time to react when Sewell began punching him in the head.

The "force and repetition" of the punches caused the guard to fall backwards and hit his head on the concrete, Mr Ballek said.

He dismissed Sewell and Mr Hersant's evidence, which included that the guard had grabbed Mr Hersant by the throat and Sewell had beaten the guard in defence.

"The very second you perceive any physical contact from [the guard] on Mr Hersant, you leapt in with sustained and unjustified violence," Mr Ballek said.

"The video evidence graphically shows the disturbing nature of a strong man brutally punching an unsuspecting victim in the face, such that he falls backwards and strikes his head on the pavement."

Sewell, who remains on bail, is facing up two years in jail. He will return to court on January 12 for a pre-sentence hearing.

Outside court, Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dvir Abramovich said the verdict was a "thundering victory" for justice.

"It is also a blow to the solar plexus of a dangerous and resurgent Australian neo-Nazi movement," he said.

"The brutal attack we saw last year was hatred pure and simple."

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