A man from the southern NSW city of Albury is expected to be charged with terrorism-related offences following a NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) investigation.
The 18-year-old man was arrested earlier this morning (Wednesday, 9 December 2020) and is due to be charged with a range of criminal counter-terrorism-related offences.
He is expected to face Albury Local Court once charged, and an application will be made to have the matter heard in a Sydney court at a later date.
The investigation began in August 2020 after NSW JCTT investigators became aware of a number of online posts containing an extreme right wing ideology that indicated potential criminal activity.
It will be alleged in court that the man has regularly used social media forums and communications applications during 2020 to encourage other people to commit violent acts in furtherance of an extreme right wing ideology.
NSW JCTT investigators became concerned about the escalating content of some of the man’s communications, which allegedly indicated his willingness to commit a violent and criminal act. The decision was made to execute a search warrant on his Albury residence.
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism Scott Lee said NSW JCTT investigators were concerned about the man’s actions to date, and made a decision to act early to ensure community safety.
“The sole aim of today’s activity was to ensure the safety of the community by preventing further planning, preparations or advocacy by this man that could have resulted in an attack in Australia,” he said.
“The investigation into this matter remains ongoing, but we remain wary about the speed with which lone actors can progress from online activities to ones that impact the real world. It highlights the commitment and professionalism of the people and agencies involved in the JCTT, and their desire to protect the community by bringing people to account for their criminal actions.”
NSW Police Force Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, said regardless of the nature of a person’s extremist views, there was no place for them within our community.
“The NSW JCTT will continue to work together to ensure the community is protected from those who seek to do us harm, and those who think they can exploit the online environment to spread their extremist ideologies.
“If we see activity that concerns us – as we have during the course of this investigation – we will act swiftly to ensure that activity does not escalate.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind the community that they are our eyes and ears – so if you see something online, report it. Your information is often invaluable in assisting investigations such as this one.”
The man is expected to be charged with one count each of the following offences:
Urging violence against members or groups, contrary to section 80.2A (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment.
Advocating Terrorism, contrary to section 80.2C (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is five years imprisonment.
The NSW JCTT is comprised of members from the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police Force, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission.
Anyone with information about extremist activity or possible threats to the community should come forward, no matter how small or insignificant you may think the information may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123 400.
There is no ongoing threat to the community relating to this investigation.