Australia court orders new trial after first terror finance prosecution

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Victoria Court of Appeal [official website] Monday upheld [decision; summary, PDF] a December 2006 decision [ABC report] ordering a retrial of suspected terrorist Joseph Thomas [advocacy website], nicknamed "Jihad Jack" by the popular media. Thomas' original convictions for carrying a fake passport and receiving funds from terrorists were overturned [JURIST report] when a lower court ruled that police had obtained statements against his will and in the absence of counsel. That court later found that Thomas should be retried because he willingly volunteered the same information in an interview [transcript] with the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC). The Supreme Court rejected Thomas's argument that his prosecution knew or should have known of the ABC interview at the time of the original trial [JURIST report]. No date for Thomas's retrial has been set, but he remains under a control order [JURIST report]. AP has more.

Thomas was the first Australian incarcerated under the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002 [text] after having been found guilty in February of receiving $3,500 from a senior al Qaeda member and of carrying a fake passport. Thomas was the first person to be put under controversial "control orders" [JURIST news archive], which require him to stay within the city of Melbourne and to obey an evening curfew imposed under anti-terror legislation [Act No. 144 text; security backgrounder] enacted late 2005.

 

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