A man has appeared in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court this afternoon charged with assisting the al-Qaeda terrorist group.
Joseph Terrence Thomas, 31, also known as “Jihad Jack”, is charged with two new counter terrorism offences – receiving funds from a terrorist organisation and providing support for a terrorist organisation.
It is the first time the offences have been applied in Australia since new counter terrorism laws were introduced in 2002, the AFP said in a statement today.
Thomas kept his head bowed throughout the short appearance. Defence counsel Lex Lasry QC said he would not be making a bail application until he received more information and instructions from his client.
Magistrate Lisa Hannan remanded Thomas until Wednesday, when the court expects his bail application to be heard.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) earlier raided Thomas’ home in Werribee, in Melbourne’s south-west, seizing documents and computer equipment.
The former taxi driver and chef returned to Australia in June after being held in Pakistan for six months on suspicion of having terrorist connections after the country’s interior ministry decided not to charge him.
Thomas was today charged with receiving funds from the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda in Karachi, Pakistan and elsewhere between November 2002 and January 2003.
A second charge states that between July 2002 and January 2003, at Karachi, he provided support or resources to al-Qaeda which would help the organisation to engage in preparing, planning or assisting in a terrorist act.