A would-be right-wing terrorist has been jailed for 12 years by a court in Victoria for planning to wage a terror campaign against “Muslims and lefties”.
Phillip Galea, 36, was sentenced in the Supreme Court of Victoria yesterday (Friday) for Collecting or Making Documents Likely to Facilitate a Terrorist Act, and for Preparation For, Or Planning, Terrorist Acts.
He was handed a non-parole period of nine years. Given that he has already served just over four years on remand, Galea may be eligible for parole in around five years’ time.
Victorian Trades Hall was a target
According to evidence heard by the court, he was planning attacks on the Victorian Trades Hall and the Melbourne Anarchist Club.
Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said the plots were “amateurish” and unlikely to succeed. Nevertheless, they were serious offences.
“Although you regard yourself as a patriot who holds mainstream views, it’s clear the jury found otherwise,” Justice Hollingworth said. “You’re not being punished for holding radical right-wing views … you’re being punished for the violent means you contemplated.”
No evidence his views have changed
Referring to evidence that Galea had researched ways to build explosives and said he wanted to see his victims flee like “burning rats”, the judge noted that: “You clearly regarded Muslims and people on the left wing of politics as sub-humans whose lives have no value.”
Justice Hollingworth said that there was no evidence Galea had changed his views while in prison.
“You show no remorse or contrition for your offending,” she said. “It’s clear that even while you were awaiting trial, you continued advocating violence.”
Arrest was made on 6 August 2016
The Victorian Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) launched Operation Fortaleza in January 2016 to investigate Galea regarding concerns he was attempting to carry out violent acts in support of extreme right-wing beliefs.
The investigation resulted in the then-31-year-old’s arrest on 6 August 2016, when he was charged with the two terrorism offences.
Investigators executed a search warrant on his residence and seized 362.1 grams of mercury in a glass jar, five conducted electrical devices (CEDs), three computer hard drives and various storage devices.