Police have increased powers when it comes to combatting terrorism threats. As recently as June 2017, police were given the power to ‘shoot to kill’ terrorists who are deemed to be an immediate threat. As noted below, the rules in place regarding terrorism have been refined in order to combat the current threat, meaning that it is important to engage legal representation if the circumstance arises where you are charged on suspicion of terrorist activities.
It’s important to keep in mind that officials are still bound by the law in administering the criminal process and George Sten & Co can provide you with urgent and fearless criminal defence, which is backed by 50 years of proven experience. Ensure that your rights are comprehensively protected call us on 9261 8640 (or our 24 hour line on 0412 423 569)
In 2016, the Terrorism (Police Powers) Amendment (Investigative Detention) Act was introduced, which defines a terrorism suspect as a person who is suspected on reasonable grounds: s25A(1)(a) that ‘the person has committed or will commit a terrorist act’; (b) ‘the person is or has been involved in preparing or planning for a terrorist act’; or (c) ‘the person possesses a thing that is connected with the commission of, or the preparation or planning for, a terrorist act’.
The demonstrable broadness of terrorism powers can arguably be seen in s25B(2) of this Act, which states that ‘this section extends to a future terrorist act even if the following has not been identified: (a) the identity of the persons who will commit the terrorist act; (b) the kind of terrorist act that will be committed; (c) the place where or the time when the terrorist act will be committed.
The police have the power to arrest a person without a warrant if (a) ‘the terrorist act concerned occurred in the last 28 days, or (b) the police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the terrorist act concerned could occur at some time in the next 14 days’, pursuant to s25E(1) of the Act. The police officer needs to be satisfied that the ‘investigative detention will substantially assist in responding to or preventing the terrorist act’. A senior officer is to review the detention person every 12 hours to determine whether it should be continued. According to s25E(7), ‘a terrorism suspect cannot be arrested under this section on more than one occasion in connection with the same terrorist act’.
During this period of detention, the police may question the suspect in relation to the specific terrorist act or any other act within the time period outlined above. There are rest periods and safety measures in place to ensure that appropriate standards are met. The maximum period for detention is not to exceed 14 days.
Terrorism is an offence under s80.2C of the Commonwealth Criminal Code (1995), which states that ‘a person commits an offence if (a) the person advocates (i) the doing of a terrorist act); or (ii) the commission of a terrorism offence … and (b) the person engages in that conduct reckless as to whether another person will (i) engage in a terrorist act or (ii) commit a terrorism offence’. ‘Advocate’ is taken to mean the process of counselling, promoting, encouraging or urging of the commission of a terrorism offence. It is also important to note that the actual terror offence does not have to occur, as ‘advocating the doing of a terrorist act or the commission of a terrorism offence, even if a terrorist act or terrorism offence does not occur’ is identified as advocating. The imprisonment period for a person engaging in a terrorist act is a life sentence, according to s101.1 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code. A person could be imprisoned for 25 years if they provide training for a terrorist act, or receives training for a terrorist act. It is noted that the terrorism act also need not occur for the application of this section. Possession of a thing that is connected with preparation for or assistance in a terrorist act carries a 15 year sentence according to s101.4 of the Code. Being reckless as to the existence of this thing is taken to be an extenuating circumstance, which lessens the sentence to 10 years.
It is also raised under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) under s310J, which states that a person commits an offence if ‘(a) the person intentionally is a member of a terrorist organisation, and (b) the organisation is a terrorist organisation, and (c) the person knows the organisation is a terrorist organisation’.
If you have been charged or believe that you may be charged with an offence related to terrorism, contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers. Our legal team will protect your reputation and work to clear your name. We can provide expert advice to ensure that the matter is dealt with quickly and thoroughly. Due to the nature of terrorism offences and the increased powers given to authorities to handle terrorism activity, it is imperative that you engage lawyers at the earliest possible opportunity to address the situation and guarantee your best chance of dealing with the charge. Ensure that your rights are comprehensively protected call us on 9261 8640 (or our 24 hour line on 0412 423 569)