Terror leader still mixing with terrorists

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Convicted terrorist leader Abdul Nacer Benbrika is continuing to communicate with known terrorists and may offend again, justifying a court's decision to keep him locked up.

Victoria's Court of Appeal upheld a decision by Justice Andrew Tinney to keep Benbrika behind bars until November 2023.

He became the first Australian convicted of leading a terrorist organisation and was jailed for 15 years in 2009 for encouraging a bomb plot targeting the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Benbrika completed his sentence last year but had additional time added to his sentence after an application by then-home affairs minister Peter Dutton.

Earlier this year Benbrika failed in a High Court challenge, where he argued the Supreme Court didn't have the power to keep him detained.

He failed again on Tuesday when three of Victoria's top appeals justices ruled that power was properly used.

In reasons released on Wednesday, the judges said looking at Benbrika's offending, his failure to renounce beliefs around violent jihad and terrorism, ongoing contact with known terror offenders and his capacity to radicalise others, the risk of him committing a serious terrorism offence was "very strong".

The terror leader's lawyer Dan Star had argued Justice Tinney also failed to consider a less restrictive method of controlling Benbrika's post-release behaviour.

The appeal judges said no doubt a control order - which could restrict Benbrika's movements, monitor his activities and trace his whereabouts - could have been fashioned to prevent or restrict him engaging in concerning activities, but that wasn't the point.

They noted that Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Scott Lee said it would have been "extremely difficult, if not impossible" to create an order stopping Benbrika radicalising, inciting, directing, urging or influencing others to commit serious terrorism offences.

Where it was not possible to list all of the potential people who might seek out Benbrika for advice, or be susceptible to his influence, enforcing any order would also be problematic.

The appeal judges found it would be exceptionally difficult to detect or prove breaches of any order either.

Algerian-born Benbrika had his Australian citizenship cancelled last year.

Under the current order he'll remain in custody until November 2023.

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