Australia Convicted terror plotter granted bail over alleged upskirting

10:51  30 march  2020
10:51  30 march  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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a statue of a person: AFR, GENERIC, BRISBANE Scales of Justice outside the District Court in Brisbane --- legal, law, QC, judge, litigation. Friday 25th July 2003 photo Louie Douvis AFR FIRST USE ONLY SPECIALX 19781 © Louie Douvis AFR, GENERIC, BRISBANE Scales of Justice outside the District Court in Brisbane --- legal, law, QC, judge, litigation. Friday 25th July 2003 photo Louie Douvis AFR FIRST USE ONLY SPECIALX 19781

A convicted terror plotter accused of filming up strangers' skirts has been granted bail with strict conditions, after a court was told CCTV does not show him committing the offences and no photos or videos were found on his phone.

Mazen Touma was arrested in January after he allegedly went to Kmart stores in Chatswood and Bondi Junction on January 10 and 16, leaned down with his mobile phone and attempted to film up the skirts of two adult women.

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On Monday, a NSW Supreme Court bail application heard that Mr Touma was previously jailed for at least 10?? years in October 2008 after he pleaded guilty to acquiring ammunition, explosives and documents in preparation for a terrorist act.

Prosecutor Alex Poulos said the current case is "chalk and cheese" when compared to Mr Touma's background, but the past conviction was a relevant matter because his strict parole expired two months before the alleged upskirting.

"Only two months after he was allowed to be a person of the community at liberty, he was detected acting in this way and charged with these offences," Mr Poulos said. "It is possibly too much to say the two events are connected causally, but it is a concern that only less than two months into his life post-parole, he's come to the notice of police once more."

Mr Poulos said there was a "strong inference" that Mr Touma "did the offence, or that he was attempting to do the offence", but conceded no images have been obtained from Mr Touma's phone after it was seized by police.

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In a police interview on January 22, Mr Touma agreed he went to Kmart but denied placing his phone underneath someone's skirt.

Defence lawyer Ahmed Dib said Mr Touma became a "reformed inmate" in custody, where he assisted with a prison de-radicalisation program.

Mr Dib said prosecutors have "not been able to identify either a photo or a video as of yet" which indicates his client recorded someone's intimate image, while the CCTV is "not as clear-cut" as police claim.

"They submit the video ultimately depicts the crime and the elements of that offence being made out. We refute that," Mr Dib said.

In granting bail, Justice Peter Hamill said Mr Touma served "a very long time for, let's not mince words, terrorism offences", and was now charged with these "odd offences for trying to film someone's private parts".

Justice Hamill said it was troubling that the allegations arose two months after Mr Touma's parole ended, but said he could not assess the case as being particularly strong.

He granted bail on strict conditions, including that Mr Touma live under house arrest at Roselands, report to police three times a week, not enter any Kmart store in NSW, and not enter the suburbs of Chatswood or Bondi Junction.

Mr Touma has also been prevented from using any device with a camera or a visual recording capacity, and must pay a surety of $40,000.

Justice Hamill said one factor he considered was the current coronavirus pandemic, which has led to lengthy court delays.

Mr Touma will face court again on April 22.

Read the full judgement summary from George Pell's successful High Court of Australia appeal .
Read the judgement summary issued by the High Court of Australia after it overturned George Pell's sexual abuse convictions.Here is the judgment summary from the High Court of Australia.

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