Queensland man charged with impersonating Commonwealth official

hand holding handcuffs

A Queensland man has been charged with impersonating a Commonwealth public official and importing fake Australian Federal Police badges as part of an ongoing Queensland Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) investigation.

Members of the Queensland Police Service (QPS) arrested and charged the 66-year-old Cooktown man today (7 June 2022) on behalf of the Queensland JCTT. He faced Cooktown Circuit Court today and was granted bail. He is next scheduled to appear on 13 July 2022.

Police will allege the man was a member of a group that came to police attention as a result of a video circulating through social media channels claiming to be a recording of the AFP Commissioner detailing plans to overthrow the Federal Government.

The man speaking in this video is not AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw.

As part of this investigation a Perth man was charged in August and a Peterborough women was charged in September 2021.

It will be alleged the Cooktown man took delivery of a consignment of 500 counterfeit AFP badges from China. A total of 470 badges, believed to be the vast majority of the consignment, have been recovered by police.

Queensland JCTT investigators have not found any impending threat to community safety, and have yet to find any evidence the group had the ability to carry out the plans they had discussed.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Counter Terrorism Scott Lee said the AFP was continuing to investigate this matter and today’s arrest reflects the seriousness of the offences.

“While there is no evidence the group had the ability to carry out any specific violent acts, the AFP and its partners take all threats of this nature seriously, and we have not hesitated to bring people before the courts to answer for their alleged criminal acts,” Assistant Commissioner Lee said.

“The AFP will continue to work with our partners to keep the Australian community safe.”

QPS Security and Counter-Terrorism Command Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz said the QPS was proud to continue working with the AFP to support investigations.

“Our agencies continue to work collaboratively not just in investigating and prosecuting offenders but also in the field of prevention and early intervention through to responding and disrupting criminal activity,” Assistant Commissioner Platz said.

“Working together in the Queensland JCTT ensures we can provide ongoing attention and resources to keep Queenslanders safe.

The man has been charged with impersonation of a Commonwealth public official contrary to section 148.1 (2) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and import prohibited import contrary to section 233 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth). The maximum penalty for these offences is two years’ imprisonment.

The Queensland JCTT is comprised of members of the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

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.

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