Killer’s brother gets more jail time for New Year terror attack planDecember 18, 2020
An aspiring terrorist who planned to kill New Year’s revellers at Melbourne’s Federation Square has had his prison term increased by six years on appeal.
Ali Khalif Shire Ali, younger brother of Bourke Street attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, intended to use an AK-47 assault rifle to kill as many people as he could in the name of Islamic State as the clock ticked down to midnight on December 31, 2017.
Ali Khalif Shire Ali was arrested in November 2017.Credit:Joe Armao
Anti-terrorism police thwarted his plan when they arrested him five weeks before the intended attack.
Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 23, was in May jailed for 10 years and told to serve 7½ years before he became eligible for parole, however the Court of Appeal on Friday re-sentenced him to 16 years and ordered he complete a minimum 12 years locked up.
The new sentence follows an appeal by federal prosecutors that the original sentence imposed by Supreme Court Justice John Champion was manifestly inadequate.
Shire Ali, who pleaded guilty to intentionally doing an act in preparation for or planning a terrorist act, has served more than three years since his arrest in late November 2017.
Bourke Street attacker Hassan Khalif Shire Ali.
He was in prison when his older brother killed much-loved restaurant owner Sisto Malaspina in the Bourke Street terror attack on November 9, 2018.
Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, stabbed Mr Malaspina, the owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, and injured two other men before he was fatally shot by police. Police confirmed his attack was inspired by his devotion to Islamic State.
An inquest into the Bourke Street attack finished this month in the Coroners Court.
Ali Khalif Shire Ali, a former IT student, was radicalised through constant exposure to videos of beheadings, Islamic State fighters and other violent propaganda he watched nightly from his late teens.
Between late March and early April of 2017, he met with two men he thought could get him an AK-47 and up to seven magazines of ammunition, the equivalent of 210 rounds.
The pair were in fact undercover police, who recorded the young man outlining his plan to move into the middle of the crowd at Federation Square, with the gun in a bag, and then open fire as revellers counted down the seconds to midnight.
He said that after shooting randomly into the crowd, he intended to take hostages and move to a nearby bar, where he expected to be shot by police, which would secure him martyrdom.
“I am just going hard until they shoot me,” he told the operatives in Coburg.
Court of Appeal judges Mark Weinberg, Chris Maxwell and Stephen McLeish found Justice Champion’s sentence failed to sufficiently denounce Shire Ali’s conduct and intention, and to deter others. The gravity of the planned offending and Shire Ali’s moral culpability were at the highest level, the appeals court found.
Justice Weinberg on Friday said the attack Shire Ali intended to carry out was of the “most terrible kind”.
“He intended to inflict mass casualties on random members of the public, gathered together at a time of annual civic celebration,” he said.
“An additional sinister element, involving the taking of hostages, was calculated to subject a smaller group of victims to a more intimately terrifying encounter.
“The whole plan was designed with the objective of instilling widespread fear in the community and to inspire others by the respondent’s example. If the planned events had come to fruition, they would have left an indelible stain on the civic and national consciousness.”
Shire Ali never bought a gun or ammunition and last year renounced his commitment to Islamic State and told the court he hated what the organisation did to him and his brother. The Court of Appeal said Shire Ali had positive prospects for rehabilitation.
The charge he pleaded guilty to carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
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