Possession of Terrorist Material

Acts of terrorism and its related offences are some of the most serious criminal convictions dealt with in the Australian judiciary system.  In fact, not only is the act of terrorism considered a criminal offence, but the possession of terrorist material can make individuals susceptible to a criminal conviction. The crime of possessing terrorist material is contained in division 101.4 of the Criminal Code 1995 which states that:

  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. The person possesses a thing; and
    2. The thing is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. The person mentioned in paragraph a knows the connection described in paragraph b.
  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. The person possesses a thing; and
    2. The thing is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. The person mentioned in paragraph a is reckless as to the existence of the connection described in paragraph b

Furthermore, collection or making documents that are likely to facilitate terrorists’ acts are also considered to be a crime in Australia. This is found under section 101.5 of the Criminal Code 1995 which states that: 

  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. The person collects or makes a document; and
    2. The document is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. The person mentioned in paragraph a knows the connection described in paragraph b
  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. The person collects or makes a document; and
    2. The document is connected with the preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. The person mentioned in paragraph a is reckless as to the existence of the connection described in paragraph b
  1. A person commits an offence under subsection 1 or 2 even if:
    1. A terrorist act does not occur; or
    2. The document is not connected with the preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a specific terrorist act; or
    3. The document is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or existence in more than one terrorist act.

Should you be charged in relation to possessing terrorist material, you will be liable to significant punishments. Therefore. it is advised to seek legal representation immediately.

Contact our highly expert criminal lawyers at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, to schedule a FREE and confidential consultation.

PENALTIES

Terrorist related offence incur some of the most significant penalties in Australian Courts. If you’re facing charges relating to such offences and you are found guilty, you should not expect the Court to show any leniency. As per division 101.4 of the Criminal Code, the offence of possessing things connected with terrorist act attracts a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 15 years. However, in order to be penalised with this sentence, the prosecution must determine that you knowingly understood the connection between the material and acts of terrorism. If it can not be established that you knew the connection, you will be liable to punishment under subsection 2 of the same section, whereby the maximum penalty is imprisonment of 10 years.

Alternatively, if you have been charged with collecting or making documents that are likely to facilitate terrorist acts you will be liable to 15 years imprisonment as per division 101.5 of the Criminal Code. For this sentence to be imposed, the prosecution must establish that you knowingly knew the connection between the material and the preparation or engagement in a terrorist act. If this intent and knowledge can not be effectively proven, you may be charged with the less serious offence found under subsection 2, whereby you were reckless to the connection between the activities. If this is the case, you will be liable to a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Any act of terrorism or conduct related to terrorism is not taken lightly in the judiciary system. If you, or someone you know is facing charges of possessing terrorist related material, 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 FREE consultation.

GUILTY

In order to be found guilty of possessing terrorist material, it is up to the prosecution to prove all the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you possessed a thing, and
  • The thing is connected with the preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in the 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 the maximum conviction.

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 the Court holds terrorist related crimes with utmost importance and may not be very lenient with sentencing. However, despite this pleading guilty could result in a discount on the penalty imposed which is much more favourable than being found guilty otherwise. Alternatively, our Sydney based criminal defence lawyers may also be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you plead guilty.

NOT GUILTY

Alternatively, you can choose to plead not guilty to the allegations made against you. In this instance, a brief of evidence that will be used by the prosecution will be served and examined by our expert criminal defence lawyers. Through proper examination of the evidence, our lawyers can determine the best course of action to properly defend your case. If the evidence used against you is strong, it is possible that you will be found guilty and the above penalties will be enforced.

For your best chance to avoid potentially significant penalties, it is advised to seek representation from our expert criminal defence law firm based in Sydney. Our criminal defence solicitors will then negate the allegations by using a relevant defence strategy. If we are successful, the Court may completely dismiss the charges. In other instances, the defence strategies may only provide a partial defence. In this case, a less serious sentence will be enforced, or the charges will be downgraded which is much more favourable in comparison to the maximum penalty.

Regardless, as an award-winning criminal law firm, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible outcome. If you are facing charges relating to the possession of terrorist material, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders for a FREE consultation.

THE DEFENCE

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are experienced in defending a vast range of criminal charges. Our Sydney based criminal lawyers may use the following legal defence strategies to negate the prosecutions allegations.

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: Often confused with duress, necessity is concerned with situations in which imminent danger by human or natural forces may justify criminal behaviour. For this defence to be used either by yourself or a criminal defence lawyer, it must be proven that the criminal act was only undertaken in order to avoid consequences that are deemed as “irreparable evil”. The accused must also honestly believe that they were in a situation of “imminent peril” and had no other alternatives to avoid the threat.

Self Defence: Can be utilised in circumstances where the accused has participated in the criminal act in order to protect their property, themselves or another person from an unjust aggressor.

WHICH COURT?

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 terrorism related offences, the matter will be heard on indictment in the District Court or Supreme Court.

As some of Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers with 90% success rate for the cases we have represented, our team has achieved great results in various Courts throughout NSW. Clients can be confident that whether their case is dealt with at a Local, District or Supreme Court that our Sydney criminal lawyers possess the expertise to effectively handle the matter.

If you or someone you know is facing charges of possessing terrorist material, call our expert team now for a FREE consultation.