Internet history of Auckland man accused of possessing Isis material
Article RadarTHIS ARTICLE CONNECT:
- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Affected Countries: new-zealand;
Internet searches by an Auckland man accused of possessing publications promoting terrorism reveal a video on how to make improvised explosive devices and advice on avoiding Government intelligence agencies, a court has heard.
The accused, known as Mr S due to an interim suppression order, is on trial before a High Court jury over three charges of possessing an objectionable publication relating to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).
He is also charged with possessing an offensive weapon and failing to comply with a police search.
It can also now be reported by the Herald the alleged offending occurred while Mr S was on bail for charges of knowingly distributing restricted publications.
Today, Crown prosecutor Henry Steele led the jury through a timeline of the accused’s internet history before his arrest on August 9, 2018.
Searches included “safety and security guidelines for lone-wolf mujahideen”, looking for a hunting knife, camouflage pants, Islamic State dress and New Zealand prison clothes and food.
The accused also made efforts to research the case of Imran Patel, the first person in New Zealand jailed for distributing extremist videos.
The internet history further revealed a booklet for Isis operatives to help them avoid detection by Western countries’ security and intelligence agencies.
“How to survive in the west a mujahid guide,” was one Google search by the accused.
A video in the internet timeline also purported to provide instructions on “How to attack kuffar and how to make explosive devices”. Kuffar, or kafir, is an Arabic term used to describe an infidel or non-believer.
The three publications which form the charges, two of which are audio videos with nasheeds (hymns and chants) and the third a seven-minute, violently graphic, Isis recruiting-style video were played to the jury today.
Mr S also posted some of the lyrics from the nasheeds on his personal Facebook account.
Before being shown the material, however, Justice Sally Fitzgerald asked jurors to put aside any feelings of prejudice or sympathy and consider the evidence in a calm and unbiased way.
She said it would be natural to find aspects of the publications distressing but considered it necessary for the proceeding.
The material has since been declared objectionable by the Chief Censor for promoting acts of extreme violence, cruelty and terrorism. It was only the second time the Office of Film and Literature Classification was asked to look at Isis-related material.
Isis, also known by its Arabic name Daesh, is a designated terrorist organisation which at its peak in 2015 held large areas of Iraq and Syria in its quest to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law.
During Steele’s opening address yesterday he said such Isis propaganda was “designed to both instruct and inspire”.
Steele said Mr S is charged with possession of each of those three publications, which were electronically bookmarked online, because viewing the material online was sufficient to amount to possession.
“The law is that way to avoid people simply watching them time and again online, never downloading them and saving them,” he explained to the jury.
He said the jurors must decide if Mr S had possession without lawful authority or excuse and whether he had a reasonable cause to believe the publications were objectionable.
Yesterday, Steele also showed the jury the hunting knife in a camouflage sheath which Mr S bought and had couriered to an Auckland mosque, where he was a resident at the time.
“As you’ll see it’s not a small knife, not the sort of knife you’d have in your kitchen drawer,” he said.
While awaiting the delivery of the knife, Mr S was arrested and his electronic devices seized by police in August 2018.
Mr S is accused of failing to comply with the police search by not providing the pin codes to his devices. However, the court heard, he asked police for an interpreter, which was not provided.
Kieran Raftery QC is expected to present the defence’s argument on Monday.
He has already disputed his client was in possession of the knife in a public place and said Mr S may have had lawful authority to watch the graphic video, which was only viewed once.
When cross-examining Detective Victoria Crichton today, Raftery told the court his client was on bail at the time of his arrest in August 2018.
The queen’s counsel said Mr S was first arrested in May 2017 and accused of distributing restricted material on Facebook.
He was held in custody and applied for bail, which was opposed by police and declined by a judge who said the risk of allegedly reoffending was “unacceptably high”.
After pleading guilty in June 2018, Justice Edwin Wylie granted Mr S electronically-monitored bail pending his sentencing on the initial charges, the court heard.
The court further heard there were two police investigations into Mr S, which were code-named Operation Sparrow – the subject of the current trial – and Operation Magpie.
The trial continues.