News Crime Would-be Victorian terrorist jailed for decade over Federation Square plot

Would-be Victorian terrorist jailed for decade over Federation Square plot

Federation square in Melbourne
The brother of the knife-wielding Bourke Street attacker has been jailed for 10 years over his own plot for a New Year's Eve terror attack. Photo: Getty
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The brother of the Bourke Street killer has been jailed for a decade over his own “evil” plot to gun down people on New Year’s Eve.

Ali Khalif Shire Ali admitted planning to shoot civilians and take hostages during New Year’s celebrations at Melbourne’s Federation Square in 2017.

“What you were planning was random and despicable,” Supreme Court Justice John Champion said in his sentencing remarks on Thursday.

The planned attack was “evil” and the consequences would have left a “terrible and horrifying toll”, Justice Champion said.

The 23-year-old had spoken to undercover operatives about his plans and wanted to get his hands on a high-powered assault rifle for the attack.

He became radicalised in 2016 and consumed “vicious and insidious” Islamic State propaganda, including graphic videos, and read terror attack how-to handbooks.

The young man was fuelled by revenge, wanting to give the Australian community a “small taste” of what was happening to countries in the Middle East by hurting innocent people, Justice Champion said.

However, during his pre-sentence hearing in November last year, Ali took to the stand to apologise and renounce the terrorist organisation.

“I’m deeply sorry for what my actions were … I was just an angry person,” Ali said at the time.

He also renounced IS for the actions and said he hated the terror group.

“I hate them for the actions they committed, the innocent lives they have taken for no reason,” Ali told the court.

“I hate them for what they did to my brother.”

The group had influenced his brother Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who killed Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar owner Sisto Malaspina on Bourke Street in 2018.

The killer was shot at the scene by police and died in hospital.

The younger Ali has been in custody since November 2017, when police arrested him at a Werribee shopping strip.

The 23-year-old was jailed for 10 years for plotting the terror act and must serve at least seven-and-a-half years.