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April 29th, 2019 by admin

Terry Hicks wary on plea deal

Terry Hicks was responding to reports in Fairfax newspapers that US military prosecutors have held preliminary talks on a plea bargain with his son's legal team.

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"It doesn't matter what I say, it comes down to David," Mr Hicks told AAP.

"He's the one that's got to make up his mind whether he thinks 'take the easy option' or see what happens.

US authorities, he said, "may have gone on a weakening exercise on him to get him into a position where he may have had enough and plead guilty to anything to get out."

The 31-year-old Adelaide-born Muslim convert, who has been in US custody since he was captured in Afghanistan in late 2001, was charged yesterday with providing material support for terrorism and referred to stand trial by a special military commission at the detention camp in Cuba.

But a second charge of attempted murder was dismissed after Judge Susan Crawford concluded there was no "probable cause" to justify it.

Federal government sources are reported by the Sydney Morning Herald as indicating a guilty plea on the sole remaining charge could secure freedom for the accused terror suspect by taking into account time already served.

But Mr Hicks questioned whether such a result would constitute justice for his son.

"That's not 'free' though is it? When you enter into a plea bargain you're not coming out a free person, all you're coming out is a guilty person that's negotiated a way out," he said.

Mr Hicks said he had not yet spoken to his son's legal team including US military lawyer Major Michael Mori about the possibility of a plea bargain.

"All I know is Major Mori's made a comment 'why plead guilty if you believe you're not'."

Hicks' supporters contend that the new charge laid against him was only created last year and is being applied retrospectively.

The Australian government has always refused to bring Hicks home because it says there was no law under which he could have been charged at the time the alleged crimes occurred and it would have to retrospectively create a criminal offence under which to try him.

On Friday Mr Hicks took Prime Minister John Howard to task over the apparent contradiction during an exchange on regional radio.

Mr Hicks renewed his criticism today, saying Mr Howard's explanation yesterday – that the charge Hicks faces has been on the books since 1994 – was wrong.

"The law he quoted wasn't the one that David's been charged with.

"The one he's charged with now is October 2006. The one John Howard was talking about goes back to 1994 and it's got nothing to do with the one that he's been charged with. He was just trying to give a bit of spin.

"It's been retrospectively done and not only that they've built the law around what they think David's done and then charged him on it."