What are the Penalties for Possessing or Manufacturing an Explosive in NSW?

Scott Feeney and Jimmy Singh.

 

An air exclusion zone was put in place; North Adelaide Residents were recommended to evacuate their homes.

Some decided to remain in their properties and police gave them the stern warning, “Stay away from the windows.”

Inside the garden shed of a property in Adelaide police allegedly discovered pipe bomb parts along with the explosive substance, known as “mother of Satan”.

Because of how dangerously volatile mother of Satan is, the bomb squad officers had no choice but to try to detonate it in a controlled environment in the backyard of the residential property.

This was the only way to destroy the materials, as it was far too risky to move it to a different location.

Holes were dug, and sandbags were strategically placed to contain the blast.

One by one, four separate and controlled explosions were carefully timed ten minutes apart to neutralise the mother of Satan. On completion, the area was declared safe.

One neighbour Al Cook, who was at home during one of the blasts described the sound of shrapnel landing on his roof as “deafening”. He said police were unable to contact him before then.

 

The Arrest

43-year-old father, Aaron Ellis has been arrested and charged in North Adelaide for allegedly possessing and manufacturing explosives.

Ellis first came to the attention of police back in February when he made a post on Facebook saying he “hated Muslims”.

Police went to his home at the time and found nothing out of the ordinary.

Just recently though, police received more information. Based on this information police conducted a raid on Ellis’s home on Monday Night.

Craig Patterson, the South Australian Police acting assistant commissioner said the substance was allegedly found in a container kept in the freezer of the man’s shed.

Although terrorist activity had not yet been ruled out as the investigation is still active, Mr Patterson also stated that “there is no suggestion this is a terrorism-related incident so we don’t want to declare it without that knowledge so the investigation will continue to see what the motives are.”

The accused may have some right-wing nationalist anti-Muslim views which are being further explored,”

While it is reported that there appears to be no evidence to suggest Ellis was making any threats or intending to use violence against anyone. The presence of the explosive in his shed, located in a residential area, is extremely concerning.

 

What is Mother of Satan?

Mother of Satan is a common nickname for triacetone triperoxide. Also known as TATP.

This is basically a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals. Terrorists quite commonly use this volatile and deadly concoction.

This was the explosive behind the Manchester bombings back in 2005.

Mother of Satan has been used in a string of other terror-related attacks, leaving a trail of destruction right through to the recent Sri Lankan Easter bombings.  It is extremely dangerous due to its instability.

It is so dangerous that merely touching it with your fingers could cause it to explode. Heat, friction, and static will also antagonise this volatile substance.

As little as 30 grams (the weight of a compact disc) is enough to blow the doors off a car.

A resident from far North Queensland was sentenced to three years in prison after blowing off his right hand and losing a part of his arm in an explosion when he thought he could make a mother of Satan in 2017.

Another man in Ipswich received four years behind bars in December of 2015 after being found guilty for grievous bodily harm when a teenager lost his hand.

 

The Magistrate’s Court

Ellis’s defence Lawyer argued for Ellis to be released to live at his daughter’s house under home detention bail.

His Defence said, “he has no criminal history of violent offending. I’m instructed that he hates violence and that he is very distressed at the suggestion.”

He is someone “who would not pose a significant risk to the community”. Ellis lost a leg in a motorbike accident 25 years ago and requires crutches to walk around.

Brevet Sergeant Darren Cross has opposed releasing Ellis on bail. His concern was that in a period as short as eight weeks when Ellis first came to the attention of law enforcement, he managed to get all the required chemicals and information in putting them all together.

Magistrate Gary Gumpl stated he believes Ellis doesn’t not want to talk about the alleged offences in fear of incriminating himself. “yet without explaining the reason behind this, he’s going to have difficulty getting bail.”

The stepdaughter of Ellis, Maddi, has defended him stating  he’s an innocent grandfather, “He’s just passionate about chemistry, he wasn’t going to hurt anyone”

Ellis has been remanded in custody until he faces court again in a week. Magistrate Gumpl will then consider whether Ellis should be released on home detention bail.

What are the Penalties for Possessing or Manufacturing an Explosive in NSW?

The maximum penalty for possessing, supplying or making an explosive in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable suspicion that it was not done for a lawful purpose is 3-years imprisonment and/or $5,500 fine (section 93FA(2) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).

Anyone charged with possessing or manufacturing an explosive will be found not guilty in court if any one or more of the following defences apply:

  1. The person accused has possessed, manufactured or supplied an explosive for a reasonable excuse (section 93FA(4) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)).
  2. The person accused has possessed, manufactured or supplied an explosive for a lawful purpose. i.e. demolition work, festivities, scientific research.
  3. The person accused did this due to a necessity or duress.

Further, there is a maximum penalty of 5-years jail to anyone who possesses an explosive in a public place under section 93FA(1) Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

 

Have a question? Our Sydney city criminal lawyers specialise in criminal cases. Call our 24/7 hotline on (02) 8606 2218 to schedule a free first consult with an experience criminal lawyer.

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