Section 310J Crimes Act | Membership of Terrorist Organisation


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With the recent focus on terrorism in the media, coupled with the government’s push for stricter security laws, there is considerable concern that members of the public may be charged with terrorism offences in the face of limited evidence.

It’s therefore useful to have an understanding of what the law says about the offence of “membership of a terrorist organisation.”

Although the majority of terrorism offences are dealt with under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, the offence of “membership of a terrorist organisation” is also contained in s 310J of the Crimes Act 1900.

This section states that you commit an offence if it is proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  • Were intentionally a member of a terrorist organisation and
  • The organisation was actually a terrorist organisation and
  • You knew that the organisation is a terrorist organisation

The prosecution must prove each of these factors before you can be found guilty of this offence.

If you are found guilty, you could face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

However, the maximum penalty only applies in the most serious cases, and with the help of a good lawyer, you can fight to avoid these onerous penalties.

The Legislation

Section 310J of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ and reads as follows:

310J Membership of terrorist organisation

(1) 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.

Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the person proves that he or she took all reasonable steps to cease to be a    member of the organisation as soon as practicable after the person knew that the organisation was a terrorist organisation.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?

Being charged with a terrorism offence can have an adverse and permanent impact on your life and reputation.

However, you can rest assured that your future is in safe hands with the help of Sydney’s leading criminal lawyers.

Our expert defence team specialises in criminal law and our lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to secure the best possible outcome in your case.

We have considerable experience representing clients in numerous terrorism cases and can assist you in identifying any relevant defences to the charges.

In many cases, we are able to have charges dropped at an early stage thanks to the hard work and efforts of our lawyers, who spend a considerable amount of time carefully scrutinising all the evidence in each case.

Where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our senior defence lawyers will work alongside distinguished criminal barristers to prepare a compelling case and maximise your chances of being found “not guilty.”

Should you simply wish to plead guilty, our experienced advocates can prepare persuasive sentencing submissions to ensure that you get the lowest possible penalty in the circumstances.

Call us today on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference to get the experts on your side today.