Jail time reduced over Islamic State ‘joke’
A man involved in the shock execution of police accountant Curtis Cheng has had his sentence reduced after arguing he was joking when he stroked his chin and told a constable, "My beard is for ISIS."
Talal Alameddine pleaded guilty to supplying a Smith and Wesson revolver that was passed on to 15-year-old Islamic State supporter Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad, who used the gun to kill Mr Cheng as he exited NSW Police headquarters in October 2015.
He also pleaded guilty to recklessly possessing a gun connected to a terrorist act.
Alameddine will now be eligible for parole in 2026 after his sentence was docked by three years and eight months in a split decision handed down by the Court of Appeal on Friday.
Supreme Court Justice Peter Johnson, who sentenced Alameddine in 2018, cited an interaction he had with Constable Chantelle Hannah in mid-2015.
Alameddine was usually "charming" and flirtatious, Ms Hannah said, but on July 5, 2015, he was sombre and withdrawn and had grown out a bushy beard.
"What's with the beard? That's new," Ms Hannah asked him, according to a transcript in her statement.
"My beard is for ISIS!" Alameddine replied, stroking his facial hair and with a "smirk" on his face.
Alameddine submitted he was joking and didn't really mean it.
But Justice Johnson ruled it was an "overt" demonstration of his support for ISIS and sentenced him on the basis that was his motivation for supplying the gun.
On Friday, two out of three Court of Appeal judges were not convinced.
"Just as the sentencing judge was unable to determine whether or not the revolver was supplied for free or financial reward, I am unable to reach the requisite degree of satisfaction that the supply was motivated by sympathy for Islamic State," wrote Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, supported by Justice Natalie Adams.
Justice Derek Price dissented, finding it was open to Justice Johnson to detect "no humour" in the beard comment and instead find it was a serious statement of support for ISIS.
Alameddine's revised sentence is 14 years with a non-parole period of 10 years and six months.
Originally published as Jail time reduced over Islamic State 'joke'