Max and Arman Jalal with their 16-year-old co-accused (left) Photo: Simon Schluter You Tube video terror pranksters Max and Arman Jalal at Melbourne Magistrates Court for an earlier hearing. Photo: Justin McManus

A screenshot of a prank drive-by shooting video performed by the Jalals. The court heard the man who fled was one of the Jalals, and the girl was a relative. Photo: Supplied

When YouTube pranks break the law

Melbourne’s Jalal brothers must wait a week to learn if they’re to avoid punishment over their controversial AK-47 prank, in which they used a weapon-shaped hookah pipe in a hoax drive-by shooting.

Max, 20, and Arman Jalal, 18, and their 16-year-old co-accused, who cannot be named, were in February charged by police after an online video showed a man and a young girl apparently fleeing in terror when one of the brothers, dressed in a white robe, pointed a fake assault rifle at them from a car outside shops in Epping.

The gold gun was actually a hookah pipe imported from Canada, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Friday.

The court heard the man who fled in the video was one of the Jalals, and the girl was a relative, and that everyone involved in the video and similar ones were part of the act.

Police charged the trio with public nuisance, possessing a prohibited weapon and behaving in an offensive manner in a public place.

Dressed in matching blue suits, the Jalals appeared before the court on Friday, when magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg was told prosecuting police had recommended the brothers be put on the court’s diversion program, which allows first-time accused to have charges resolved without them having a criminal record provided they agree to court orders.

Mr Rozencwajg adjourned the case to next Friday and said he wanted to view some of the Jalals’ videos, and consider whether the brothers had to make a public apology and confirm the skit was a prank.

The 16-year-old appeared before a children’s court on Friday and was put on the diversion program, on a condition he make a public apology.

The magistrate in the children’s court, who cannot be identified, initially said the videos had the potential to scare members of the public given concerns about terrorism.

“It’s possible all of a sudden someone could have been there and got a fright,” he said.

The Jalal brothers at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday. Photo: Jason South

Both courts were told the prank was filmed in a controlled setting, that no members of the public were nearby and that there had not been any public complaints.

Defence counsel Thea Milides told Mr Rozencwajg the prank and other videos the group had made were intended to satirise racial stereotyping.

The videos, which include bomb scares and fake kidnappings, had been seen more than 18 million times, Ms Milides said.

Acting Inspector Paul Rudd said police were initially concerned the AK-47 prank featured unsuspecting members of the public, but that the Jalals had assured them the participants were all either friends of family members.

The sound of machine gun fire was added after the video was filmed, Ms Milides said.

She said the Jalals had received offers from overseas to make more satirical videos.

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