The leader of a Melbourne neo-Nazi group will spend the night in jail after being arrested by counter-terrorism police over an alleged armed robbery in central Victoria.
Thomas Sewell, 28, and a 22-year-old man were arrested in early morning raids on their Rowville homes in Melbourne’s south-east, police said.
Mr Sewell was charged with ten offences including armed robbery, criminal damage, affray with a face covering, assault with a weapon, violent disorder, common law assault and committing an indictable offence while on bail.
In a short hearing via video link in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday evening, Mr Sewell did not ask for bail and was remanded in custody.
The arrests follow an allegation of armed robbery in Taggerty, about 120 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, on Saturday, May 8.
Defence lawyer Kieran Reynolds asked for a doctor to assess Mr Sewell’s hand, which he said had been hurt during his arrest on Friday.
Police will provide Mr Sewell and his lawyers with a brief of evidence on June 25. He will next face court on August 8.
The 22-year-old Rowville man was released pending further enquiries.
In March, Mr Sewell was arrested and charged after a violent altercation with a security guard at the offices of Nine, the publisher of this masthead, when he demanded to see A Current Affair staff.
The pair were escorted out by a security guard, who was then allegedly attacked and punched multiple times by Mr Sewell.
The Channel Nine security guard was taken to hospital by ambulance. Mr Sewell, a former Australian Defence Force member who is one of the leaders of the far-right National Socialist Network, left before being tracked down by police.
A 21-year-old Rowville man who was filming the incident was also arrested but released by police pending further inquiries.
Mr Sewell was bailed on the charges of affray, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault and is due to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 27. CCTV footage of the incident has been handed to Victoria Police.
The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald reported in January that over the Australia Day weekend, 38 members of a Neo-Nazi group burnt a cross – a ritual usually associated with the Ku Klux Klan – next to Lake Bellfield at the foot of the Grampians in western Victoria.
Tourists and locals heard the group chanting “white power” and Nazi slogans.
Victoria Police’s counter-terrorism command is responsible for investigating incidents of terrorism and communal violence that relate to differences based on ideology, politics and religion.
Mr Sewell has in the past sought to distance his group from those who espouse violent action.
His social media posts indicate that he is a racist conspiracy theorist appealing to marginalised, underemployed young Australians on the fringes of society.
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