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Humorous lawyer has humourless client

By Geoff Crocker - posted Friday, 24 August 2012

Remember Belal Saadallah Khazaal? The Qantas cabin cleaner that turned author of a practical terrorism manual? The Muslim Jihadist that won bail thus appearing to avoid a nine-year minimum sentence - a matter that astonished many and cast serious doubt upon our legal system at the time?

Well, sanity, if not justice, prevailed last week when a full bench of the High Court revoked Khazaal’s bail. The 40-page ruling found the original conviction namely that under the nom de plume Abu Mohamed Attawheedy, Khazaal had assembled a handy 110-page e-book titled: Provisions on the rules of jihad – short judicial rulings and organisational instructions for fighters and mujahideen against infidels. The work, which might well be plagiarised, was graphic tutorial to a multitude of ways to kill the infidels mentioned in the title, an undertaking that would include 97.75% of all Australians. In the lofty sights were targets like the then US President Bush, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and secretary of state Colin Powell.

 Back in court, Khazaal’s persuasive and likeable lawyer, Barrister Charles Waterstreet brought wry humour into the stodgy order of a criminal courtroom stunning many with his statement that bail should again be granted his client because it was “late on Friday” and this [decision] has happened very “suddenly.” He also informed their honours that their determination was “personally traumatic” for his client. Comedy? Nine years of fourteen in the slammer is meant to be personally traumatic. A wit like Charles who once wrote, “I hate the people I live with, and I live alone” was surely pulling their honours’ collective legs.


Maître Waterstreet has prior form.

From the Justinian October 16 1995:

As the actress said to the barrister.‘I’ll have the Brett Whiteleys, you can have the Tupperware and the Brescia beanbag,’ noted Thespian Kate Fitzpatrick told her former lover, Sydney Barrister Charles Waterstreet, in the Supreme Court before Brownie J.

The courtroom stoush between the two old horizontal folk dancers was the only thing to amuse in a jaded Sydney September.

“Not guilty” Khazaal pleaded originally to knowingly making a document connected with terrorism and attempting to incite the commission of a terrorist act, even though his book recommended a jihad of extreme violence to advance Islamism throughout the world. Nevertheless, his book was dedicated to, “all mujaheddin everywhere, all martyrs of Islam, prisoners languishing in the prisons of tyrants be it infidels, apostates or hypocrites, Christians, Jews, or infidels, idolater and apostate.” That was for starters!

Waterstreet did not represent Khazall at his first trial in which Crown prosecutor Peter Neil said the book praised the September 11, 2001 strikes on the United States and “urged others to go out and do similar things.” Khazaal still claimed innocence. “The terrorist actions which the book promoted and attempted to urge… range from small scale such as individual murders to large-scale assassinations and murder, such as exploding bombs in public places and shooting down of planes,” said the prosecutor.

That Khazaal’s first conviction was quashed puzzled the layperson given the book’s more detailed instructions. “Training members of an assassination team; stages of the assassination process; various methods of assassination, including wireless detonation, letter bombing, booby trapping or detonating a car, sniping, smothering, hitting with a hammer and booby trapping a room; and targets that should be assassinated.” Chapter 10 included persons holding public offices, including, “diplomats, ambassadors and the military”, of "enemy nationalities" or of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Buddhist religions.”


Evidence given in 2008 included reports from the US CIA, ASIO and other intelligence organisations linking Khazaal to Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda including Muslim clerics under surveillance in Australia.

Also, alleged was Khazaal’s association with Abu Dahdah who was connected with the Madrid train bombings. And, in December 2003 a Beirut Military court sentenced Khazaal in absentia for funding a bombing campaign in Lebanon.

However, for an “innocent” man, if not also a pea-brained plagiarist, some of his suggested means of dispatch were bizarre. One such method was to wrap the “target” in “a strong plastic bag” advising that it leaves almost no trace on the body and could leave the impression that it was suicide…. He hadn’t heard of forensics!

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About the Author

Geoff Crocker is a regular contributor to The Menzies House.

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All articles by Geoff Crocker

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