Terrorism Key Facts

Maximum Penalty

  • For financing terrorism: Life imprisonment

Possible Defences

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

What Is Terrorism?

A ‘terrorist act’ is defined as an action that:

  • is done with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause;
  • is intended to coerce or influence the public or any government by intimidation;
  • causes one or more of the following:
    • death, serious harm or danger to a person;
    • serious damage to property;
    • a serious risk to the health of safety of the public;
    • serious interference with, disruption to, or destruction of an electronic system (such as a telecommunications system, transport system or system used to operate a public utility).

A person can still commit a terrorist act even though a terrorist act did not occur. A terrorist act includes a threat of a terrorist act and includes the following actions:

  • planning or preparing for a terrorist act;
  • financing terrorism or a terrorist;
  • providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts;
  • possessing things connected with terrorist acts;
  • collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

Division 101 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) details a number of offences relating to terrorism.

What Is The Penalty For Terrorism?

The maximum penalties are:

  • For committing a terrorist act: Life imprisonment
  • For providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For possessing things connected with terrorist acts: 15 years’ imprisonment
  • For collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts: 15 years’ imprisonment
  • For any other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts: Life imprisonment
  • For directing the activities of a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For becoming a member of a terrorist organisation: 10 years’ imprisonment
  • For recruiting for a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For providing or receiving training involving a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For getting funds to, from or for a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For providing support to a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For associating with terrorist organisations: 3 years’ imprisonment
  • For financing terrorism: Life imprisonment

What Are The Possible Defences For Terrorism?

It may be a defence to the charge that you:

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

What The Prosecution Must Prove

If you are charged with committing a terrorist act, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You engaged in a terrorist act, meaning:
    • You acted with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause;
    • Your action was intended to coerce or influence the public or any government by intimidation;
    • Your action caused:
      • death, serious harm or danger to a person;
      • serious damage to property;
      • a serious risk to the health of safety of the public; or
      • serious interference with, disruption to, or destruction of an electronic system (such as a telecommunications system, transport system or system used to operate a public utility).

If you are charged with associating with terrorist organisations, the prosecution must prove that:

  • On two or more occasions you intentionally associated with a member of an terrorist organisation (or a person who promotes or directs the activities of an terrorist organisation);
  • You knew that the organisation was a terrorist organisation;
  • The association between you and the other person provides support to the organisation;
  • You intended that the support would assist the organisation to expand or to continue to exist;
  • You knew that the other person was a member of the organisation (or promoted or directed the activities of the organisation).

A terrorist organisation is:

  • an organisation that is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  • an organisation that is specified by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph (e.g., Islamic State – which also known by other names such as Al-Qa’ida). [Criminal Code (Terrorist Organisation—Islamic State) Regulations 2017]

Case Studies For Similar Offences

We have defended thousands of criminal cases over many decades and constantly achieve outstanding results for our clients. Please view our results by clicking the cases below:

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