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Recklessly Possessing Things Connected With Terrorist Acts

Recklessly possessing things connected with terrorist acts is an offence under section 101.4(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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

  1. You possessed a thing connected with preparation for, the engagement of a person in, or assistance in a terrorist act, and
  2. You were reckless as to whether the connection was such.

A ‘terrorist act’ is as an action done or threatened with the intention of:

  1. Coercing, or influencing by intimidation, the government of the Commonwealth or a state, territory or foreign country, or part thereof, or
  2. Intimidating the public or a section thereof.

‘An action’ includes:

  1. Causing serious physical harm to a person
  2. Causing serious damage to property
  3. Causing death
  4. Endangering another’s life
  5. Creating a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or part thereof, or
  6. Seriously interfering with, seriously disrupting or destroying an electronic system.

An ‘electronic system’ includes:

  1. An information, telecommunications or financial system
  2. A system to deliver essential government services, and
  3. A system for or by an essential public utility or transport system.

‘An action’ does not include advocacy, protest, dissent or industrial action not intended to:

  1. Cause death, serious physical harm or endanger another’s life, or
  2. Create a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a part thereof.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk that the thing was connected with a terrorist act, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk but you went ahead with your actions regardless

You may be found guilty even if:

  1. The terrorist act did not occur
  2. The thing was not connected with a specific terrorist act, or
  3. The thing was connected with more than one terrorist act.

Defences to the charge include:

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

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