Australia NSW judge rejects terror-risk claim
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An anti-government believer who maintained police would be hanged won't be subject to a supervision order despite authorities contending he's at risk of committing a terrorism act.
Juha Kiskonen, 51, is due for release at midnight on Thursday after serving a one-year jail term for two counts of using a carriage service to menace or harass and two firearm offences relating to a gel-blaster pistol found at his Sydney home in July 2020.
The truck driver was a member of the United Kingdom of Australia (UKOA), a sovereign citizens movement that doesn't recognise Australian laws and contends they shouldn't and don't apply to them.
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The State of NSW applied to the Supreme Court for a 28-day interim supervision order, with a view to obtaining a three-year extended supervision order on specific conditions, including electronic monitoring.
The State's lawyers referred to Facebook material and videos Kiskonen uploaded to YouTube, which could amount to advocating support for violent extremism.
They included a video containing comments implying that certain police activity was treason, that the police are "a foreign military threatening peaceful civilians" and that the police should be exposed to the punishment of hanging.
But Justice Julia Lonergan on Thursday dismissed the application and ordered the State to pay Kiskonen's legal costs.
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"I do not accept that there is a high degree of probability that the defendant poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious terrorism offence if not kept under supervision under the order," she said.
During his time in jail he went on a hunger strike, was psychotic and was treated for his delusional mental health issues.
In June, he told a specialist he no longer believed things about the Australian government or other conspiracies.
"The evidence taken at its highest is equivocal as to where the defendant currently stands regarding his beliefs or otherwise in the doctrines of the UKOA," the judge said.
"I also doubt that the type of activities the defendant might engage in, even if he was still a 'believer', would, properly considered, amount to a 'serious terrorism offence'."
Kiskonen was arrested in July 2020, after being monitored by the NSW Fixated Persons Unit.
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He had been involved in UKOA plans for an "Australia Day ceremony" at major war memorials around the country where any national flags were to be removed, replaced with their own red ensign.
His carriage service offences related to YouTube videos which included a statement that those who didn't swear allegiance to the Kingdom of Australia "will be hung and their necks snapped".
In arguing against the imposition of a supervision order, Kiskonen's lawyers said the evidence did not lead to a conclusion that he had been making a "call to arms" to his associates to hang police or engage in any act of violence.
"In fact, there was a number of statements that show an intention to act peacefully and that he expected others to act peacefully," they said.
They also referred to the absence of any relevant terrorism intelligence, submitting the police case was full of speculation and opinion without real foundation as to what other, unidentified people, might do.
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