Rob Kidd is a NZME. News Service court reporter based in Auckland.

Man sentenced over 'terrorist material' challenges jail term

Imran Patel during sentencing on charges of possessing and distributing objectionable material. Photo / Rob Kidd
Imran Patel during sentencing on charges of possessing and distributing objectionable material. Photo / Rob Kidd

An Auckland man who distributed extremist videos, featuring footage of people being shot, beheaded and burned alive is challenging his jail term.

Imran Patel, 27, was imprisoned for three years nine months before Auckland District Court in June.

"Tell John Key to stop being a slave to America and get out of Iraq. Allahu Akbar," he shouted after sentence was passed, while being restrained by court security.

Patel was the first person in the country to be sentenced over so-called terrorist material after being found with 137 videos and the Crown said he had an "utter lack of insight and remorse".

The case came before the High Court at Auckland this morning with defence counsel Adam Holland arguing for a reduction in sentence.

He said Judge Russell Collins compared Patel's offending to the gravest forms of child pornography possession - the usual offending caught by the act.

But the judge failed to provide "rigorous analysis" of why that was the case, Holland said.

"There is an argument to be made that child pornography should be treated more seriously than other types of objectionable material. Until parliament deems it fit to change that, that's the way the legislation should be interpreted," the lawyer said.

"No one denies the material we're dealing with is deeply concerning and objectionable . . . but there has been, in my submission, a little bit of an emotive description of that material that's dominated some of the sentencing process."

Holland told Justice Graham Lang today the final sentence should end up less than two years imprisonment, which could open the door to a sentence of home detention for his client.

Prosecutor Henry Steele was adamant the material in question was at the most extreme level.

"It's simply the execution of defenceless people," he told the court.

At sentencing, Judge Collins was quick to stress Patel was not being prosecuted over terrorist acts; only on the charges of possessing, making and distributing objectionable material.

He described the defendant as "an intelligent man" but said the violence depicted in the videos he shared was "grotesque".

In October, the Mt Roskill man sent text messages to 52 associates with a link to an Isis-made video, with accompanying words about revenge.

The montage showed 14 prisoners lined up before two men shot them in the head one by one.

"Each slumps to the ground after being shot", the summary of facts said.

Patel received a warning from his cell provider the following day about the content of the message but went on to text a similar link 24 hours late before he was eventually cut off by the company.

Less than two months later, police raided his home and found a laptop, DVD, an iPod and three USB drives on which were dozens of publications showing extreme violence and torture.

Patel told police he wanted to show a "true picture" of how ISIS was fighting the Syrian regime and helping people and that he believed it was a freedom-of-expression issue.

Justice Lang said it was the first time the High Court had considered such a case and reserved his decision.

- NZ Herald

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