Today, one of the CDPP’s most high-profile and important series of cases came to a close when Mr Mustafa Dirani (25) was sentenced for his role in the act of terrorism which resulted in the death of NSW Police accountant, Mr Curtis Cheng. Mr Cheng was shot dead outside the NSW Police Headquarters in Parramatta by 15-year-old Mr Farhad Mohammad on 2 October 2015.
Mr Dirani was today sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court to 28 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21 years, for conspiring with Mr Raban Alou and Mr Milad Atai to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act. Mr Dirani is the last offender in these matters to be sentenced.
Mr Dirani helped Mr Alou to obtain the handgun, which was ultimately used in the terrorist act. Mr Dirani’s role included acting as lookout while the firearm was obtained from another offender, Mr Allameddine, on the day that Mr Cheng was killed. Mr Dirani also provided religious and ideological support and encouragement to his co-conspirators; provided money to assist in the purchase of the handgun; and accompanied Mr Alou to meetings with Mr Alameddine prior to the handgun being obtained.
Mr Farhad Mohammad was himself shot dead outside police headquarters after firing several shots at officers who had responded to the attack. In the robes he was wearing at the time, police found a note which said he had come “to put terror into your hearts”.
The police investigation of Mr Dirani began as part of Operation Peqin-Fellows, a NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) investigation commenced in response to the unlawful killing of Mr Cheng.
The CDPP’s Deputy Director for Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism, Scott Bruckard, acknowledged the sustained and persistent effort required to manage a prosecution of this size and complexity.
“I would like to commend the efforts of the NSW Joint Counter-Terrorism Team, Federal Prosecutors and Crown counsel who worked closely together for over three and a half years to assemble and present the evidence that has resulted in this offender being brought to justice,” Mr Bruckard said.
“Mustafa Dirani helped to obtain the handgun used to kill Mr Cheng. He played a central and critical role in facilitating the commission of this heinous crime.”
Mr Bruckard also extended his sympathies to Mr Cheng’s family, “l hope that this final sentence today provides some closure for them. This type of prolonged investigation and prosecution is always difficult for families, and I thank them for their patience in seeing justice done.”
In sentencing, his Honour Justice Johnson of the Supreme Court of NSW said Mr Dirani played a significant part in the conspiracy, was a deeply radicalised supporter of Islamic State, and was actively involved in the indoctrination of others. Justice Johnson also said that this was a serious example of an offence of conspiracy to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act, and at the higher end of the scale of seriousness for this type of offence. In closing, Justice Johnson said that Mr Cheng’s family represent all that is strong and decent in the Australian community.
Summary of charges Mustafa Dirani:
- 1 x Conspire with Raban Alou, Milad Atai and divers other to do acts in preparation for a terrorist act or acts contrary to s101.6(1) with s11.5(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
Background and Summary of Charges for other Offenders
On 1 March 2018, Raban Alou was sentenced by the Supreme Court of NSW to 44 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 33 years’, for organising the attack and sourcing the handgun that was used to shoot Mr Cheng.
- 1 x Aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of a terrorist act by Farhad Mohammad contrary to s101.1 with s11.2(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
On 23 November 2018, Milad Atai was sentenced by the Supreme Court of NSW to 38 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 28 years’ and six months, for his part in helping to source the handgun that was used to shoot Mr Cheng.
Milad Atai also pleaded guilty to two other charges of intentionally making funds available to the terrorist organisation Islamic State, as well as a charge of intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation, namely Islamic State.
- 1 x Aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of an offence by Farhad Mohammad contrary to s101.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
- 2 x Intentionally make funds available to a terrorist organisation, namely Islamic State, knowing that the organisation was a terrorist organisation, contrary to s102.6(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
- 1 x Intentionally being a member of a terrorist organisation, namely Islamic State, knowing that the organisation was a terrorist organisation, contrary to s102.3(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) was taken into account when passing sentence pursuant to s16BA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth).
On 18 May 2018, Talal Alameddine was sentenced by the Supreme Court of NSW to 17 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 13 years and six months, for supplying the handgun that was used to shoot Mr Cheng. At the time he supplied the handgun, Talal Alameddine was subject to a Firearms Prohibition Order.
- 1 x Intentionally possess a thing, namely a .38 calibre Smith and Wesson model British service revolver, that was connected with the preparation for a terrorist act reckless as to the connection of the thing to the preparation for a terrorist act contrary to s 101.4(2) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
- 1 x Supply a pistol, to wit, a .38 special calibre Smith and Wesson model British service revolver, to Raban Alou, without Raban Alou being authorised to possess the pistol by a licence or permit contrary to s 51(1A) of Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).
- 2 x Possess a firearm in contravention of a firearms prohibitions prohibition order that was in force contrary to s 74(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).
- 1 x Possess a prohibited pistol, to wit, a semi-automatic handgun or an imitation thereof, without being authorised to possess the pistol by licence or permit contrary to section 7(1) of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW).
Appeals by a number of those convicted of these offences remain outstanding.
CDPP Media contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 6206 5708.