The wife of a convicted Islamic State recruiter is appealing to the federal Attorney-General, arguing it was unconstitutional under a new NSW law against disrespectful behaviour in court for her to be sentenced to community service.
The Australian reports, Moutia Elzahed, the wife of Hamdi Alqudsi, (as mentioned in Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi's podcast episode in May this year) has filed an appeal in the NSW Supreme Court against a decision that she “repeatedly and intentionally” failed to stand for a judge in the District Court nine times in 2016.
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According to court documents filed in the Supreme Court, Ms Elzahed’s lawyer, Zali Burrows, said her client’s religious views were not taken into account and the NSW law goes against the “implied freedom of political communication” enshrined in the Constitution.
She has filed what is known as a section 78B application that says the case has a “constitutional issue”, and must be passed to the Australian government solicitor for consideration. Ms Burrows said others regularly showed blatant disrespect for the court but did not face the same charge as her client.
In a civil trial in November and December 2016, Elzahed did not stand when judge Audrey Balla entered the courtroom.
In July this year, Elzahed became the first person sentenced under new laws against disrespectful behaviour, with NSW Local Court magistrate Carolyn Huntsman sentencing her to 75 hours of community service.
Ms Burrows has argued the court did not take into account that Elzahed meant no disrespect and said she did not disrespect the judge.
She also said the court was wrong to disregard her client’s religious views because she didn’t give oral evidence.
Elzahed’s husband, Alqudsi, was jailed for a minimum of six years in September 2016, for helping young Australians travel to Syria to fight with extremist jihadi groups.
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