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R v Dakkak [2020] NSWSC 1806

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to two counts of associating with terrorist organisations contrary to s 102.8(1) of the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

Nature and Circumstances: This case falls below the putative mid-range of objective seriousness but is substantially more serious than cases that would fall at the bottom of the range. The offender’s association with members of the terrorist group were not fleeting and spanned many months from March 2018 to July 2019. There is clear evidence of offender’s radicalisation and this was a substantial part of their motivation to associate with people they knew to be members of a terrorist organisation. The terrorist organisation is notorious for engaging in barbaric and egregious abuses of human rights and offender expressed opinions that some of these tactics were justified. Each of the people who the offender associated with was a ‘member’ of IS rather than someone directing the activities of the organisation.

Rehabilitation: It is difficult to assess the offender’s prospects of rehabilitation. The offender remains committed to strict form of Islam, however that is no crime and does not of itself suggest that offender will involve themselves in criminal activities in the future. Offender has strong support in the community. There is no evidence that offender has been de-radicalised. Offender has not been eligible to participation in the prison’s de-radicalisation programmes because he was not a sentenced prisoner. Given offender’s youth, prior good character and family support, sentencing judge found offender has some prospects of rehabilitation. In the absence of evidence of contrition and de-radicalisation, rehabilitation cannot be given much weight.

Hardship to Offender: Gaol where offender has been in custody is largely used to house offenders charged with terrorism offences. The wisdom of placing young offender with no previous record on remand in such an institution is questionable but not something over which the Court has any control. Offender has already spent 18 months in gaol in very onerous conditions. Sentencing judge was satisfied that this was sufficient punishment.

Offender sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment with a 14 month non-parole period.
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