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R v Mohamed, Chaarani & Moukhaiber [2019] VSC 498

sentence — engaging in and attempting to engage in a terrorist act contrary to s 101.1 of Commonwealth Criminal Code — three offenders adherents to Sunni Islam — Shia mosque target of offence — two offenders, Mohamed and Chaarani, attempted to set fire to mosque — all three offenders successfully set fire to mosque a few weeks’ later — nature and circumstances of the offence — s 16A(2)(a) — offence of engaging in terrorist act covers wide array of potential offending — no evidence that offenders intended any harm more than property damage — terrorist offences of property damage less serious than terrorist offences involving planned or achieved causation of death or serious injury — offending still serious — offenders supporters of Islamic State — ‘conduct driven by a depraved and evil ideology and mentality’ — fact that genesis of plan was in mind of Mohamed does not distinguish the level of criminality of offenders when they acted as a team in the commission of the offence — fact that first crime spontaneous or ‘dreamed up’ only hours before commission does not diminish criminality where offence was product of ‘quite long-standing extremist views’ — fact that offending was targeted towards a discrete minority, Shia Muslims, does not lessen seriousness of offence — offence caused ‘great sense of discomfort to all fair minded members of our community’ —  victim of the offence — s 16A(2)(d) — injury, loss or damage of the offence — s 16A(2)(e) — ‘traumatising and frightening’ impact of offence on members of mosque as primary victims taken into account — troubling impact of offence against broader community taken into account — rehabilitation — s 16A(2)(n) — contrition — s 16A(2)(f) — specific deterrence — s 16A(2)(j) — extent of offender’s radicalisation during commission of offence relevant to assessment of objective seriousness of the offence — fact of offenders’ involvement in offences is ‘clear and cogent evidence’ offenders were strongly radicalised at time of offences — offender’s steps taken towards de-radicalisation after commission of offence relevant to specific deterrence and prospects of rehabilitation — little weight given to extent of offender’s de-radicalisation in absence of sworn evidence — material tendered on behalf of offenders ‘unconvincing, contrived and self-serving’ — public renunciation of IS, whether genuine or not, taken into account in favour of offenders as renunciation represents public statement that two followers reject ideology of criminal organisation — sentence — degree of concurrency necessary but significant cumulation required to reflect separate criminality involved in two offences — Mohamed and Chaarani sentenced to 22 years’ imprisonment with 17 year non-parole period — Moukhaiber sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment with 12 year non-parole period
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