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​Restrictions on terrorism evidence in prisons

Published date: Sunday, 27 May 2018

Inmates will be banned from possessing videos and images that promote terrorism or extremism under new legislation to combat radicalisation in the prison system.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Minister for Corrections David Elliott and Attorney General Mark Speakman today announced legislation will be amended to prohibit an accused person from possessing extremist material that is evidence in criminal proceedings against them.

“NSW has the toughest counter-terrorism laws in the country, including increasing police powers, strengthened bail laws, stronger parole provisions and the creation of a post-sentence detention scheme for high-risk terrorist offenders,” Mr Elliott said.

“It will now be an offence for an accused person to possess extremist material, similar to the way accused sex offenders cannot possess sensitive evidence, such as photographs of sexual assault victims.

“Having extremist material in a correctional centre inhibits efforts to deradicalise the person, and increases the risk of radicalisation of other inmates. An offence is punishable by two years imprisonment.”

Extremist material is defined as including:

  • Articles, images, speeches or videos that encourage acts of terrorism;
  • Statements or posts made on social media, chat rooms or blogs that encourage acts of terrorism;
  • Content from websites created or hosted by terrorist organisations;
  • Terrorist training materials; and
  • Videos or images of terrorist acts.
Mr Speakman said the legislative changes to the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 will protect the accused person’s right to a fair trial and enable them to provide instructions to their lawyer, but will reduce the risk of radicalisation.

“Possession of extremist material that is part of a brief of evidence against accused persons will be restricted to the accused’s lawyer. If the accused is self-represented, they will be able to view material under the supervision of the prosecuting authority,” Mr Speakman said.