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R (Cth) v Alqudsi (No 8) [2023] NSWSC 355

The offender was sentenced following conviction for 1 count of intentionally directing the activities of a terrorist organisation contrary to s 102.2 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: The terrorist organisation was initially established for the purpose of assisting people to travel to Syria to fight against the government of Syria. Offender was, at one stage, a person who was destined to travel to Syria, although there may be some doubt as to whether offender intended to reach that ultimate destination. There were discussions between offender and others relating to possible targets for a terrorist attack. The kinds of attacks that were suggested were: an attack on the Court to target the Australian Federal Police; an attack on Garden Island Naval Base; an attack on the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras; as possible attack on the Israeli Embassy; random attacks on members of the public or ‘unbelievers’; and the provision of personnel (or the non-use of personnel) who were necessary for an attack by another group of persons. At the time of offender’s arrest, the attack had not been finalised.

Rehabilitation: While there is evidence of contrition and remorse in the sense of offender no longer having extreme beliefs, the contrition is not genuine nor the remorse real. There has been a degree of cooperation. A significant amount of material was reduced by means of cooperation between offender and the Crown. Given the nature of the regime in Syria, such a course of sending people there may not, in and of itself, evidence extremism. Nevertheless, the departure from that course and the attention then paid to domestic terrorism does reflect serious extremism with possible catastrophic results. There are prospects of rehabilitation of the offender.

Totality: The course of conduct in question consisted not only of the current offence but also of offences for which offender has already been sentenced, including a foreign incursion offence. Given the nature of offending and the fact that it arose as a consequence of the thwarting of the foreign incursion conduct, the principles associated with totality apply. In fixing an appropriate sentence, the Court should fix the sentence as if the sentence for the foreign incursion offences and the sentence for this offence were fixed at the same time.

Offender sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 11 years and 3 months.
The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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