* Â Yep. DownUnder we are. Australia is the place where everybody deserves a FAIR GO. Especially if you are Muslim, then you deserve an extra fair go, no matter what the cost… Â because the poor buggers are suffering “enough prejudice already..”
Glass screen to go from terror trial
HE judge hearing NSW’s biggest criminal trial has ruled that the glass-enclosed dock used to separate nine men accused of terrorism-related offences from the rest of the court should be removed because it could stop them receiving a fair trial.
Supreme Court judge Anthony Whealy said in a judgment yesterday that the presence of the fixed glass screen at the front of the dock was likely to prejudice the jury hearing the case against the men, who are accused of plotting a terror attack in Sydney.
Justice Whealy said the accused men faced enough prejudices already
and he had no evidence that the men, who had been in custody for three years, posed a danger while they were in the courtroom.
“No evidence has been placed before me to suggest that, during the last three years, there has been any serious incident or activity involving any of the accused that would enliven a conclusion that there is a risk to national security,” Justice Whealy said.
“Of course, it might be said that they have been incarcerated, restrained and subject to such stringent security measures that it is unsurprising that anything untoward has occurred.
“Whether this be so or not, the fact remains that I have not been provided with any material to suggest that during their time in prison, the accused have been a risk to national security otherwise by virtue of the charge each is facing … Each has pleaded not guilty and is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”
The nine men – Omar Baladjam, 29, from Hoxton Park; Mazen Touma, 26, of Bankstown; Abdul Rakib Hasan, 37, of Lakemba; Khaled Cheikho, 33, of Wiley Park; his nephew Moustafa Cheikho, 29, also of Wiley Park; Mohamed Ali Elomar, 41, from Condell Park; Mirsad Mulahalilovic, 30, of Belmore; Khaled Sharrouf, 25, of Wiley Park; and Mohammed Omar Jamal, 22, of Belfield – have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act.
The trial, due to start later this year, is expected to take at least nine months and is being conducted in a specially fitted court in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta after lawyers involved failed to convince the state Government it should be located closer to the city’s CBD.
Justice Whealy has been hearing months of pre-trial arguments and said in his judgment yesterday it had enabled him to consider the impact the glass structure would have on a jury.
Lawyers for the accused had made a submission asking for the glass to be removed saying it created “a highly prejudicial impression that they are too dangerous to be afforded the usual open-dock facility”.
Justice Whealy acknowledged that there were already a number of prejudices in the case.
He said the accused chose to wear beards and clothing that reflected their Islamic culture and religion and their “dress and appearance may present them as outsiders”.