In de­fence of rights

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Television -

WELL- KNOWN Tas­ma­nian bar­ris­ter and Mer­cury colum­nist Greg Barns will fea­ture in the SBS doc­u­men­tary The Trial on Tues­day night.

The Trial is the in­side story of the 2005 case in­volv­ing the ar­rest of 12 Mus­lim men in Melbourne.

All were charged un­der Australia’s anti- ter­ror laws that were in­tro­duced fol­low­ing an es­ca­la­tion in ter­ror­ist at­tacks world­wide.

With un­par­al­leled be­hind- the- scenes ac­cess, the pro­gram fol­lows Barns ( pic­tured), solic­i­tor Robert Stary and a large le­gal team as they bat­tle to de­fend clients ac­cused of be­ing mem­bers of a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Dur­ing the lengthy case, which be­gan in Fe­bru­ary 2008, un­til the de­liv­ery of the ver­dicts in Septem­ber 2008, ju­rors were pre­sented with ev­i­dence in­clud­ing 482 covertly recorded con­ver­sa­tions from po­lice tele­phone in­ter­cepts and lis­ten­ing de­vices.

They also heard tes­ti­monies from 50 wit­nesses and con­sid­ered weeks of de­fence ar­gu­ments.

All 12 of the ac­cused pleaded not guilty. Two of the men, Ezzit Raad and Ab­dul­lah Merhi, were also charged with pro­vid­ing a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion with re­sources and faced pos­si­ble sen­tences of up to 35 years in jail.

Ab­dul­lah Merhi was also ac­cused of pre­par­ing to be Australia’s first sui­cide bomber.

The Trial ex­plores the story of those ac­cused, told through their le­gal team and their rel­a­tives, whose lives were turned up­side down as they lived with the im­pact of the trial, and dealt with me­dia scru­tiny and the back­lash from the com­mu­nity.

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