Dane Sweetman is now the designated driver

From today’s Australian.

‘Outcry at neo-Nazi’s ‘soft drink’ parole switch’

by Greg Roberts (p.3).

He is a notorious neo-Nazi and axe murderer accused of headbutting a man for asking about his swastika tattoos in a Melbourne hotel.

And yesterday, despite Dane Sweetman’s violent background, the authorities reacted by amending his parole conditions, to ban him from drinking alcohol, sparking anger from anti-racist campaigners.

Sweetman, 36, was released from Fulham Prison on parole last October after serving 15 years of a 20-year sentence for the murder of David Noble at a 1990 party to celebrate Adolf Hitler ’s birthday.

It is understood that, given his history, police want him returned to jail, despite their failing to gather enough evidence to have him charged over the latest allegations.

Melbourne anti-racism campaigner Cam Smith described the parole amendment as ridiculous. “It ’s not going to help anyone if he ’s simply banned from Collingwood pubs,” he said.

Patrons at the Tote Hotel alleged Sweetman headbutted and punched a man in the hotel in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Collingwood earlier this month after the man questioned him about swastika tattoos on his neck. Hotel co-owner Bruce Milne said the incident was reported to police. “This person has been barred from the hotel,” Mr Milne said.

Police investigated the incident but did not charge Sweetman. It is understood the victim was fearful of the consequences of pursuing the matter.

Adult Parole Board secretary David Provan said Sweetman ’s parole conditions had been amended as a result of the incident. Sweetman has been banned from entering the premises of any licensed venue in Collingwood and has been required to abstain from consuming alcohol generally.

Mr Provan said the amendment was an adequate response. “It is appropriate considering that he was not charged.”

Sweetman created a sensation at his trial when he pulled a knife from his boot as he was sentenced and plunged it into a wooden dock rail.

He kept a diary in prison in which he boasted of having hashed two Asian men, a Caucasian woman with an Asian boyfriend and a homosexual, although he has a conviction for sexually abusing a boy under 16.

His convictions include attempted murder, malicious wounding and assault with a weapon.

Sweetman has also claimed responsibility for firebombing a Melbourne synagogue and was understood to have kept a hitlist of police officers. Collingwood Police declined to be drawn on whether they agreed with the parole board ’s move.

Mr Smith said be should be receiving treatment.

“Considering his history of violent reoffending, he clearly needs psychiatric help if he is ever to function as a productive member of society,” Mr Smith said.

Victoria ’s Opposition police spokesman Kim Wells said Sweetman should be back behind bars.

“The community would question why he was released after 15 years in the first place when he had such a history of violence,” Mr Wells said.

News brief · 25 January 2006