Possessing Things Connected with Terrorist Attacks

– section 101.4 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995
Police Carrying Things With a WomanThis charge is laid in situations where a person possesses a thing which is connected with the preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act. The person must either know of the connection between the thing possessed and the terrorist act or be reckless as to the existence of the connection between the thing possessed and the terrorist act.
Examples of Possessing Things Connected with Terrorist Attacks
  • A search warrant is executed and a number of mobile phones with comprising text messages are discovered and blueprints for an iconic city structure.
  • A truck is pulled over. The contents of the driver’s load reveals items that could create explosives. Further inquiries reveal that the person to whom the materials are being delivered to is known to police and the truck driver.
  • A person is seen in a public library searching and printing documents related to making explosives.
Questions in cases like this
  • Were you in possession of the items?
  • Were the item or things connected to terrorism?
  • Where you aware that the item was connected to terrorism?
What are some of the possible defences to Possessing Things Connected with Terrorist Attacks?

Defences to this could be that the accused did not possess a thing or that the accused possessed a thing but did not know of its connection with a terrorist act. Defence lawyers may also use mental impairment, duress, honest and reasonable mistake of belief, impossibility, lack of intent, factual disputes, and the concept of beyond reasonable doubt.

You should ring us and discuss your case if you have been charged. Deciding on whether to plead guilty or not has important implications for you and should be made after proper discussions with a criminal lawyer.

Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

ImprisonmentPossessing things connected with terrorist attacks is a very serious offence which is heard in the Supreme Court. A finding of guilt may lead to a maximum sentence of imprisonment for 15 years. If you were reckless as to the existence of the connection then you could face a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.

What is the legal definition of Possessing Things Connected with Terrorist Attacks?
  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. the person possesses a thing; and
    2. the thing is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. the person mentioned in paragraph (a) knows of the connection described in paragraph (b).
       

    Penalty: Imprisonment for 15 years.

  2. A person commits an offence if:
    1. the person possesses a thing; and
    2. the thing is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act; and
    3. the person mentioned in paragraph (a) is reckless as to the existence of the connection described in paragraph (b).
       

    Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

  3. A person commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) even if:
    1. a terrorist act does not occur; or
    2. the thing is not connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a specific terrorist act; or
    3. the thing is connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in more than one terrorist act.
       
  4. Section 15.4 (extended geographical jurisdiction–category D) applies to an offence against this section.
     
  5. Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply if the possession of the thing was not intended to facilitate preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act.

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Legislation

The legislation for this offence can be found on section 101.4 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.

“Have you been charged with possessing things link to terrorism?”
Elements of the offence

In essence to prove this charge the Prosecution must show that the accused possessed a thing which was connected with preparation for, or the engagement of a person in or assistance in a terrorist act. The Prosecution must show that the accused knew of the connection between the possess thing and the terrorist act.

Other important resources
Media information