A man who spent 13 years as a terrorist and is being sentenced to death in Australia for plotting to kill people with an electrical device has been told he must accept the death penalty.
Key points:Anzac Day commemorates Australian troops’ sacrifice during World War IAnzac day commemorates the Gallipoli landings in 1915The man, aged in his 50s, had planned to blow up a plane at the Sydney Airport but failed to do so.
The Court of Criminal Appeal in Melbourne said he had been motivated by a desire to commit terrorism.
The man was one of two men who travelled from Sydney to Melbourne in 2010 to commit an act of terrorism that would have killed about 150 people.
They were arrested by police and questioned in connection with the plot but never gave any details of their plans.
Their lawyer, John Taylor, told the court that their intention was to kill and destroy the Australian government.
“It was a plan to kill innocent Australians,” he said.
“You cannot put someone in prison for what they want to do.”
Mr Taylor said the man was suffering from mental illness and his mental health was being monitored.
“He is a very, very sick man,” he told the hearing.
“There are people who are living in extreme conditions in detention who would kill innocent people if they had the chance.”
Judge Michael Callinan said he was concerned about the prospect of the man committing a “mass shooting”.
“I have to be very clear that he’s got no criminal intent in any of this,” he replied.
“The court is not suggesting that he was an ideologue or had a mental illness.”
Mr Callinans words were met with a strong response from the prosecution.
“I’d rather die than have a life sentence that I can’t carry out,” prosecutor Chris Macdonald said.
The prosecution argued that the man had no prior record of mental illness or mental health issues and that he had “suffered from severe mental illness” for several years.
He was not given the chance to enter a plea in court.
Mr Taylor told the jury he was not convinced the man’s mental health had been affected by the ongoing detention of some of his family members.
“We don’t know if his family is living in a prison and they’re not being allowed to speak to each other,” he explained.
The sentencing of the case will take place in a matter of days.
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