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R v Shoma (No 2) [2021] VSC 797

The offender was sentenced following a plea of guilty to one count of engaging in a terrorist act on 30 October and one count of being a member of a terrorist organisation namely Islamic State.  

Nature and Circumstances: Offending occurred whilst under sentence for engaging in a previous terrorist act and despite provision of the CISP program. Offender planned their attack for at least eight months before carrying it out. The offender used a weapon to attack a fellow inmate, having waited for an opportunity to get their hands on one. Physical injury inflicted turned out to be relatively minor. Offender approached victim with gardening shears with intention to stab and kill the victim in furtherance of extremist ideology. Intention to cause serious injury or death for ideological purposes makes offending more serious than terrorist act aimed only at property damage. Offender targeted victim as they were a Canadian national and offender perceived an attack on a Canadian national would get more public exposure and have greater value. Charge 2 captures ongoing self-identification by offender as a soldier of IS and actions in performance of that attitude.  

Rehabilitation: Prospects must be viewed as poorer than at the time the offender was sentenced in 2019, given adherence to radical beliefs despite having been detained in onerous conditions and having completed the CISP program. Offender has no contrition for their actions. The extent of the offender’s fanaticism, despite participation in CISP does not bode well for long-term prospects of rehabilitation. Offender is still relatively young and it remains feasible that offenders views may change over the years.   Offender sentenced to 12 years imprisonment with 6 years of the sentence to be cumulative on sentence currently undergoing. Offenders new head sentence is 48 years with a 36 year non-parole period.
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