Former IS supporter spared more jail time

·3-min read

A wannabe Islamic State fighter who breached his bond by possessing a loaded shotgun and cannabis after missing multiple health appointments has been sentenced to a community corrections order.

Moudassar Taleb, 27, appeared from jail via video-link in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday before Justice Peter Hamill who first sentenced him in 2019.

Taleb was found guilty of preparing to travel to Syria - between early February and mid-June 2017 - for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities.

The 22-year-old at the time was stopped at Sydney Airport with no plane ticket and little money.

Following an "extremely onerous" two years in custody on remand, Justice Hamill placed the Sydney man on a five-year good behaviour bond to allow the "mentally ill and vulnerable offender" the chance of rehabilitation.

After his arrest he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a condition which the sentencing judge found had a significant impact on his moral culpability.

In April 2021 he was further sentenced to a maximum of two years in prison for possessing a shortened loaded shotgun and ammunition, with a non-parole period that expired in May, but he remains in custody.

Prosecutor Sam Duggan on Tuesday said Taleb had since expressed a range of conspiracy theories to a treating psychiatrist that he believed "stemmed from his own research".

He also reported ongoing hallucinations but said these were "faith-related," and insisted he did not have mental health conditions, Mr Duggan said.

"He acknowledged he was delusional in prison but didn't think medication made him well.

"He thought that cannabis was helpful and did not accept advice that it could trigger a relapse."

Mr Duggan said Taleb's rehabilitation was better served in jail after missing several ordered medical appointments including those for de-radicalisation, and anti-psychotic injections upon release.

"He appears to be better inside than outside."

Justice Hamill said Taleb was given an opportunity and for over a year "he did OK".

"And then he blew that opportunity," Justice Hamill said.

"Not many people get bonds for terrorism offences."

Taleb's defence lawyer Thomas Spohr said his client's mental ill health was causing his beliefs and non-compliance, and it was not coming from a rational place.

He submitted appropriate supervision within the community could treat his underling schizophrenia and paranoia.

The judge found it was "utterly inappropriate" to take no action against the breach that was "escalating and serious in nature", but that his options were limited.

"The fact is he won't be in custody forever and at some stage he needs a way to receive treatment and assimilate back into the community," Justice Hamill said.

The State Parole Authority will conduct a public hearing on June 24, and if deemed fit for release he will be subject to the strict CCO conditions for three years.

He is not to use the messaging app Telegram, must attend all appointments and receive psychiatric help, and not commit any offence, among other orders.

"Try and keep to these conditions or you'll end up back where you are," the judge warned on Tuesday.

In June 2017 an undercover police sting arrested Taleb at the airport with a bag containing military clothing, a sleeping bag, tactical gloves, a solar charger and other gear.

He was also found with well over 200 videos on his phone including some showing beheadings, people with ISIS flags and battlefields.

Taleb's impairment may have made him more susceptible to extremism and the offender was "an inappropriate vehicle" for a sentence of general deterrence, the judge found.

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