Man charged with planning terrorist attacks in NSW

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and New South Wales Police Force.

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A 24-year-old man who is currently in Goulburn Correctional Centre has been charged by counter terrorism officers for allegedly planning acts of terrorism targeted at police, military personnel and corrective services staff while behind bars in NSW.

His charging yesterday by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) follows an investigation known as Operation Zellaer, which began in late 2018 into a number of people alleged to be engaging in terrorism-related activities. The 24-year-old was later found to be an associate of these people.

The man was also the subject of a separate investigation by the NSW Police Force's High Risk Terrorist Offenders Unit (HRTOU), who had commenced an investigation into him concerning his eligibility for a supervision/detention order under the Terrorism (High Risk Offenders) Act 2017 (NSW). 

As a result of that investigation, the man was placed on an Interim Continuing Detention Order, and evidence identified during this was referred to the NSW JCTT.

In October 2019, the NSW JCTT, with the help of Corrective Services NSW, executed a search warrant on the man's cell at Goulburn Supermax.  The man was on remand for matters unrelated to terrorism at the time.

Police will allege evidence seized during the search warrant relates to the planning of acts of violent extremism within the community, aimed at police, military personnel and correctional staff.

The 24-year-old was charged yesterday with two counts of acts done in preparation for, or planning terrorist acts.

He is due to appear before Parramatta Local Court on 2 April 2021.

The man faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment if convicted.

AFP Counter Terrorism and Special Investigations Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said any talk of acts of terrorism within the community was concerning.

"With the good work conducted by the NSW JCTT and NSW Police's High Risk Terrorism Offenders team, this investigation uncovered alleged plots to harm the very men and women who our community members trust to keep them safe," Assistant Commissioner Lee said.

"It shows why it is imperative for our officers to stay one step ahead of people who wish to turn to violent means to achieve their own ends. The AFP and our partners will tirelessly investigate and target this type of offending and bring perpetrators before the courts."

NSW Police Force Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, said the results demonstrate the full gambit of counter terrorism investigations in NSW.

"Our investigations teams are complemented by a range of specialist units, which seek to identify and disrupt potential terrorist plans by individuals or groups, monitor those at risk of radicalisation and detect those who seek to do harm within our community," Assistant Commissioner Walton said.

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.

Further, information relating to any criminal activity in the community can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Crime Stoppers website. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages.

The NSW JCTT comprises members from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission.

There is no ongoing threat to the community related to this investigation.

Media enquiries

AFP National media: (02) 5126 9297

NSW Police media: (02) 8263 6100

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

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