Counter-terrorism target Omar Ammouche gets bail

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Omar Ammouche is arrested by police. Photo: Supplied: NSW Police Media
Wuxi Plastic Surgery

Omar Ammouche is arrested by police. Photo: Supplied: NSW Police Media

Omar Ammouche is arrested by police. Photo: Supplied: NSW Police Media

Omar Ammouche is arrested by police. Photo: Supplied: NSW Police Media

A counter-terrorism target has been released from custody after his lawyer argued a close friend was the owner of a bag filled with shotgun shells.

Omar Ammouche, 33, was granted bail on Monday despite police claiming he was an Islamic State supporter who had possession of a flag and clothing associated with the terrorist organisation.

His lawyer, Adam Houda, said his client was only charged with two minor ammunition offences and the police had unfairly tried to “poison” the mind of the magistrate by mentioning ISIS.

“[The prosecution] can talk about ISIS all he wants but at the end of the day these are ammunition charges,” Mr Houda said during his client’s bail application at Central Local Court.

“The raising of the flag was designed to do one thing and that is to poison the mind of the magistrate. [The police] want to give it a terrorist flavour,” Mr Houda said outside court.

Mr Ammouche, 33, a friend of wanted Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, was charged with possessing ammunition after he was arrested at his Greenacre home on January 9 by counter-terrorism officers attached to Operation Duntulm.

The father-of-five was one of two men arrested during a series of raids across western Sydney.

Magistrate Les Mabbott granted bail after a close friend, Mohamed Faytrouni, told the court he was the owner of 50 shotgun shells found in Mr Ammouche’s kitchen.

He had a receipt which proved he bought the ammunition from a Bankstown gun store and said he accidentally left it at Mr Ammouche’s house.

“My client certainly did not know what was in the bag,” Mr Houda said.

Mr Faytrouni said he called Mr Ammouche before his arrest to explain he had left the bag of ammunition at his house and would  collect it.

But the prosecution said they had been monitoring the pair’s mobile phones and that no such phone call  took place.

The surveillance was part of Operation Duntulm which is targeting the distribution of financial assistance to Australian jihadists.

Police argued the offences should be treated more seriously because Mr Ammouche was a supporter of an organisation that has carried  out violent atrocities.

The court heard police had also found an ISIS flag in a car at Mr Ammouche’s house, but Mr Houda argued the vehicle was not registered in his client’s name.

“My client denies ownership of the flag,” he said.

Mr Ammouche is also charged with acquiring ammunition while subject to a firearm prohibition order.

The order was made after Mr Ammouche, who had a legitimate firearm licence at the time, was convicted of allowing an unauthorised person to possess a firearm.

That unauthorised person was Sharrouf, who was found with a rifle at a property near Lithgow in November 2013.

Mr Mabbott said the prosecution had a “weak case”.

“The nexus between the accused and the flag is a weak one,” he said.

Mr Houda said his client would plead not guilty to both offences when the matter returned to Bankstown Local Court on March 4.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.