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Advocating Terrorism

Advocating terrorism is an offence under section 80.2C of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You advocated the doing of a terrorist act, or you advocated the commission of a terrorism offence, and
  2. You were reckless as to whether another person would engage in a terrorist act or commit a terrorism offence as a result.

To ‘advocate’ is to counsel, promote, encourage or urge.

A ‘terrorist act’ includes an action or threat of action that:

  1. causes death, serious physical harm, serious property damage, serious risk to public health or safety, serious disruption or destruction to electronic systems, or endangers life
  2. Is intended to advance a political, religious or ideological cause, and
  3. Is intended to coerce or influence a government by intimidation, or to intimidate the public or a section of the public.

‘Terrorism offences’ include:

  1. Providing or receiving training in connection with terrorist acts
  2. Preparing for or planning terrorist acts
  3. Possessing items in connection with terrorist acts, and
  4. Committing terrorist acts.

You can be found guilty even if the act you advocated did not occur.

You are not guilty if your conduct was in ‘good faith’, which includes:

  1. Pointing out matters that produce, or have a tendency to produce, feelings of ill-will or hostility between different groups, in order to bring about the removal of those matters, or
  2. Publishing a report or commentary about a matter of public interest.

The onus is on you to establish that defence ‘on the balance of probabilities’.

Other defences to the charge include:

  1. Self defence
  2. Duress, and
  3. Necessity.

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