Three members of the nationalistic World Macedonian Congress were charged with 300 hours of community service by a judge at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court.

The three defendants had joined a group of 15 others in attacking a Greek Australian at the Ribs and Burgers Restaurant in South Morang on 17 December following heated debate at a Whittlesea Council Meeting.

The magistrate described the actions of Goran Naumovski, and brothers Aleksander and Nick Ilievski – who pleaded guilty to the charges – as “vigilante conduct” and condemned behaviour incited by hearsay.

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The magistrate  sought to understand whether the crimes were motivated by a “general hate or prejudice against the Greek culture”.

She said that the gravity of the crime, caught on CCTV footage, was greater due to the fact that it may have been based on hearsay and “motivated on false premises”.

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“Given I was contemplating terms of imprisonment for each of the accused, it would be inappropriate to deal with such serious allegations without recording convictions against each of them,” said the magistrate, before handing a corrections’ order of 300 hours over a period of 18 months. She added that had a prison sentence been handed, it would not have been no less than four months.

Neos Kosmos understands that the three accused sent letters to the victim apologising for their actions.