Court drawing of Agim Kruezi during his sentencing. Picture: Brett Lethbridge
Court drawing of Agim Kruezi during his sentencing. Picture: Brett Lethbridge

Dispute over halal meal sparks jail fight

A Queensland man jailed for plotting a terror attack has had his prison term extended over the assault of a prison officer in a disturbance sparked by a halal meal.

Agim Kruezi, 26, didn't commit the assault.

But he pleaded guilty in Brisbane District Court to unlawful assembly after his fellow inmate Kane Alan Smith seriously assaulted the officer in a dispute over whether his meal was halal.

 

Agim Kruezi after being arrested during terror raids. Picture: Nine News
Agim Kruezi after being arrested during terror raids. Picture: Nine News

 

Kruezi, who last year admitted preparing for incursion into a foreign state and preparing or planning for a terrorist act, was on remand for those charges when he committed the offence.

The pair were sitting together when Smith threw the meal on the ground and said, "f*** this shit".

An officer took him to an airlock before Smith lashed out as another officer tried to restrain him.

A struggle ensued and the officer received a minor injury to his hand. Outside the airlock, prisoners in the meal area were directed to an exercise yard but a group instead gathered to egg Smith on.

 

Supporters of Agim Kruezi outside the Brisbane Supreme Court last year. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Supporters of Agim Kruezi outside the Brisbane Supreme Court last year. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

 

Kruezi, a maximum security inmate, was charged after repeatedly ignoring staff directions to move away from the airlock and kicking at its door. Another prisoner then assaulted an officer, sparking a melee in which a further 22 officers were deployed, with six sustaining injuries.

"It is not alleged that Agim Kruezi assaulted anyone, but his defiant presence and his encouragement to Smith at the outset made him an accessory to the unlawful assembly," Judge Leanne Clare said in sentencing.

"Defiance and incitement in a prison is an attack on the security of a prison and the people in it.

"Such conduct threatens the safety of officers and the safety of other prisoners."

Kruezi and Smith, in jail for burglary and violence offences, appeared shackled in court on Thursday where they had minor increases to their sentences.

Kruezi, of Logan, was jailed for 17 years last year, with a non-parole period of 13 years, for plotting to use improvised explosives in a domestic terror plot and trying to travel to Syria to fight.

He was stopped by Customs officers in March 2014 while attempting to fly to Syria to fight with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

With his passport cancelled, he turned his attention to an attack on home soil and months later, he obtained materials to build molotov cocktails before his arrest in September 2014.

He received a further four months' jail today, with all but one month suspended.

Smith, 24, received an additional 10 days having already served more than 200 days in custody over the assault.

He had acknowledged he had "completely overreacted" to ongoing issues about the provision of halal food in the prison, according to his defence barrister Catherine Morgan.

Ms Morgan said Smith had found comfort and peace in his religion.


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