On 5 September 2016, MHK a juvenile at the time of the offence, appeared before the Victorian Supreme Court in Melbourne where he pleaded guilty to a charge of doing an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. At the time of his arrest, MHK was in the process of constructing as many as seven pipe bombs and at least one pressure cooker bomb. He was following precise and detailed bomb-making instructions, secretly obtained from a contact in ISIS. The construction phase was well advanced and he was within days of completing the construction of the bombs. MHK intended to use the bombs to commit a terrorist act in Melbourne.
On 7 December 2016, MHK was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. A non-parole period of five years and three months was fixed.
Prosecution Appeal – Victorian Court of Appeal
The Commonwealth DPP appealed against the adequacy of the sentence imposed on MHK. That appeal was heard on 9 June 2017.
On 23 June 2017, the Victorian Court of Appeal delivered judgment in the appeal. The Court allowed the Director’s appeal and resentenced MHK to 11 years’ imprisonment with non-parole period of 8 years and 3 months.
In its judgment, the Court said:
“The seriousness of the offence, to which the respondent pleaded guilty, is reflected in the maximum sentence of life imprisonment prescribed by the Criminal Code. Terrorist acts, of the kind planned and prepared by the respondent, are calculated to, and do, cause widespread carnage and suffering amongst civilian populations. Their objective is to strike at the heart of our liberal, democratic and tolerant society. Such actions, and the conduct indulged in by the respondent, are driven by a depraved and evil ideology and mentality, which are anathema to the fundamental values of our nation”
The Court went on to say:
“The protection of our society, and the upholding of its most fundamental values, necessitate that in cases such as this the sentencing considerations of general deterrence and denunciation must be given primacy above the ameliorating effect of youth”