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R v Ali [2020] VSC 316

sentence — intentionally doing an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act offence contrary to s 101.6(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code nature and circumstances of the offence — s 16A(2)(a) — objective seriousness not to be determined by reference to proximity of intended acts to its actual commission, but rather offender’s conduct and intention at time crime was committed — if ultimately carried out, acts offender planned would have caused death and serious injury to multiple members of Australian community, intending for possible range of 200 casualties — relevant consideration that offender’s plan involved mass casualty event, thus elevating gravity of your offence to more serious level than had planned to kill or injure one victim or destroy property — intention to take revenge and intimidate Australian community with objective of motivating other Muslims to rise up against Australian government and wider community — taking into account all circumstances, assessment of objective gravity of offence to which you have pleaded guilty requires that it be regarded as very serious offending — offender clearly had capacity to know what offender was setting out to do and know that it was wrong — offender young man heavily influenced by terrorist propaganda and other extremist material, absorbed and heavily influenced by it, put significant effort into engaging with ISIS with respect to acquisition of a weapon and other items to carry out intended attack — acquisition of items to carry out attack and preparation beyond talking and thinking did not develop past second conversation although intention persisted until point of arrest — assessed at high level of culpability for offence although moderated due to offender’s youth and susceptibility of persuasion by vicious and insidious nature of propaganda expounded by Islamic state — guilty plea — s 16A(2)(g) — not early guilty plea so do not qualify for full discount that otherwise might have been available — it is to be acknowledged that by pleading guilty offender facilitated course of justice and plea has utilitarian value in that it has saved resources of this court and trouble of proceeding to jury trial — contrition — s 16A(2)(f) — important factor in assessment of appropriate sentence in offender’s case — sentencing judge satisfied offender expressed genuinely held remorse — offender’s evidence was frank and candid and evidence supported by members of offender’s family who remain committed and supportive of offender as well as psychologist’s evidence — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — ongoing supportive role of offender’s family as very important part in journey to rehabilitation — offender gave evidence before sentencing judge in which offender publicly renounced ISIS and violent jihad — sentencing judge satisfied offender genuinely renounced ISIS and its extremist agenda — renunciation was public which in itself is a matter of significant — offender presently has fluidity of beliefs that whilst offender has undertaken important transformative steps to demonstrate reformation and rehabilitation, process is not yet complete however acknowledge offender made significant steps towards rehabilitation as result is relevant to the question of specific deterrence and protection of community — prospects of rehabilitation appear promising but sentencing judge acknowledges it is still early in the process, still some steps for offender to complete but appears to sentencing judge to be a promising young person — age — s 16A(2)(n) — offender 20 years old at time of offending — whilst conceded weight to be attached to youth is less than it would be for less serious offence, youth nevertheless still remains relevant factor in instinctive synthesis, particularly insofar as assessment of offender’s moral culpability for offending is concerned — thought offender gave and degree of research and preparation show degree of commitment to objective that was more than mere impulsivity — moderating effect of youth remains relevant factor required to be taken into account despite serious offending — offender’s youth, combined with support of family, might be compared to hard-core offender of mature years who is less likely to be amenable to rehabilitation than a person who has support offender has — specific deterrence — s 16A(2)(j) — protection of community is highly significant factor in cases involving terrorism — COVID-19 — impact of COVID-19 while offender in custody will likely cause additional subjective stress and concern for prisoners and families as to how virus might impact on those incarcerated — for some time there will be uncertainty and this may hinder offender’s prospects of rehabilitation and make time spend in custody more onerous for period that possibility of infection remains current — should not act on basis that any additional burdens will last for duration of offender’s sentence — sentence — offender sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with a 7 year and 6 month non-parole period
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