Criminal Offences

Planning a Terrorist Act

Acts of terrorism are taken very serious in Australia and around the globe. In Australia, there are strict counter terrorism and security laws in place to prevent acts of terrorism eventuating in order to protect the general public. As a result, planning or being involved in the planning of a terrorist act is a serious criminal offence, incurring significant penalties if found guilty. Regardless if the terrorist act does occur, or the individuals involved in the planning of a terrorist act, were not involved in the actual act itself, criminal charges will still be enforced.

The crime of planning a terrorist act can be found under division 101.6 of the Criminal Code 1995 which states:

  1. A person commits an offence if the person does any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.
  2. A person commits an offence under subsection 1 even if:
    1. A terrorist act does not occur; or
    2. The person’s act is not done in preparation for, or planning, a specific terrorist act; or
    3. The person’s act is done in preparation for, or planning, more than one terrorist act.

Evidently, the laws surrounding terrorism are complex and you could be liable to punishment without actually realising you have committed a federal crime. Should you or someone you know be facing charges of planning a terrorist act, do not hesitate to contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, to schedule a confidential consultation.


The penalties for terrorism are amongst the most serious of penalties imposed by the judiciary system. The Criminal Code states that anyone found guilty of any acts done in preparation for or planning of terrorist acts is liable to life imprisonment.

Engaging in terrorism is not taken lightly in the judiciary system and leniency towards imposing alternative penalties is rarely shown for such a crime. If you, or someone you know is facing charges of planning a terrorist act, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we have 29 years of experience in criminal law where we have achieved a 90% success rates for a vast range of criminal offences.

Contact our criminal defence lawyers now for a confidential consultation.


In order to be found guilty of the crime of preparing or planning terrorist acts, it is up to the prosecution to prove that you participated in any act to prepare or plan a terrorist act beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution will also be able to prove their claims regardless if a terrorist act actually occurred, the planning was not related to a specific attack or the planning was for more than one terrorist act.

If you agree with these allegations and the prosecution are able to prove these elements, it may be ideal to plead guilty to the charge. If you choose to do so, the matter will proceed to sentencing, in which you will be facing a maximum conviction of life imprisonment.

Although it is true that you could be facing a substantial gaol term, a guilty plea is often favoured in the Court as it demonstrates remorse for the unlawful activities you participated in. Although leniency for such a crime is uncommon, the Court may decide to reduce the sentence if appropriate. Our Sydney based criminal defence lawyers may also be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you enter a guilty plea.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we work closely with all the clients we represent and provide honest advice if it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty.

If you are facing charges relating to planning a terrorist act, call our criminal defence law firm now to schedule a first consultation where we can provide tailored advice in relation to your specific matter.


If you decide to plead not guilty to charges of planning or preparing a terrorist act, a brief of evidence will be served to your criminal defence lawyer. This brief contains all the evidence that the prosecution will use to try and convict you of the crime. Our Sydney based criminal lawyers will examine this evidence carefully and meticulously to advise you on what to expect in Court. Based on the findings, you have the option to adhere to the not guilty plea or change your plea to guilty. Following this, a trial date will be set.

At the trial, witnesses will be in Court to testify against you and explain their version of events. Our criminal defence lawyers will then have the ability to cross examine the witnesses to determine the reliability of the sources. Other evidence will also be discussed before the Court by the prosecution, and further cross examined by our team. The reasoning for this is the prosecution needs to prove the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. As many cases are not straightforward, the idea of beyond a reasonable doubt refers to an absence of uncertainty. Therefore, through strenuous cross examination and raising question to the validity and reliability of various evidence presented, doubt and uncertainty may be raised. Our criminal defence lawyers will also quash the claims with appropriate defences if necessary.

If the prosecution is able to successfully prove that you did commit an offence beyond a reasonable doubt, it is likely you will face the penalties listed above. However, if our defence lawyers are able to successfully raise an appropriate defence or raise doubt over the evidence provided, you will be found not guilty of the crime. However, it is important to note that some defences may only warrant a partial defence, whereby you may be liable to the punishment of planning a terrorist act as described under division 101.6 of the Criminal Code 1995.

Regardless of whether you plead guilty or not guilty, our Sydney and Parramatta based criminal defence lawyers at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, will ensure that you case receives the preparation and consideration it requires to give you every chance of obtaining the best result possible.


If you are pleading not guilty to the charges of planning or preparing a terrorist act, our criminal defence lawyers can argue the following defences:

Duress: If it can be established that harmful threats such as death or grievous bodily harm was made against you, the defence of duress may be appropriate. This defence argues that as a result of the harmful threats, individuals have been coerced to participate in criminal activities that they would usually not have in order to protect themselves from the threats taking place.

Necessity: Involves circumstances in which the accused debates that their actions are acceptable and justifiable as they were in imminent danger by either human or natural forces. To prove that acts were a form of necessity, it must be established that the activity was only undertaken in order to avoid particular consequences that are deemed as “irreparable evil”, the individual must holistically believe that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and that the individual believed they had no other alternatives to avoid the impending threat.

Self Defence: Can be argued in situations where the accused has participated in the criminal act in order to protect their property, themselves or another person from an unjust aggressor. It may be found that in the circumstances leading up to the crime of engaging with terrorism activities, that the offender was actually acting in accordance with protecting themselves, other individuals or their property.


Terrorism related offences are negatively perceived in the public and the eyes of the Court. Due to the very serious nature and severity of the offence, an indictment for planning a terrorist act will be heard in the District Court or Supreme Court. As a Sydney based criminal law firm with extensive experience in representing clients throughout various Courts in NSW including the Supreme Court, clients can be confident that our team has the ability to effectively handle your case.

If you or someone you know is facing charges of engaging in terrorist acts, call our expert team now for a consultation.