‘Baby terrorist’ wants stabbing plot conviction dropped
Self-described "baby terrorist" Alo-Bridget Namoa wants her stabbing plot conviction quashed, claiming she and her extremist husband were embroiled in a love triangle with a Turkish man named Riz.
'Bonnie and Clyde' couple Namoa and Sameh Bayda were jailed for plotting a 2015 New Year's Eve terror attack in Sydney when they were both 18, and they have since been released.
But the 22-year-old is fighting her conviction, claiming "fresh evidence" proves she's the victim of a miscarriage of justice and the jury's verdict was unreasonable.
Namoa says Bayda bamboozled her during their sentencing by revealing he'd only pretended to go on a suicide mission to win her back from "Riz", who had also proposed.
The couple got married in an Islamic wedding ceremony one day before Bayda was to become a "martyr", and Namoa argues Justice Des Fagan erred in ruling that spousal immunity protecting a husband and wife from conspiracy charges did not apply to them.
But the Crown argues Bayda was only downplaying the seriousness of his crimes to get a lighter sentence, and his evidence "should be approached with great caution".
Namoa said she and Bayda had been friends since primary school but began a volatile on-again-off-again relationship in April 2015 while they bonded over fundamentalist Islamic State ideology.
The couple broke up around early December and had nearly no contact up until Christmas Day, blocking and unblocking each other's phone numbers while Namoa began dating Riz, court documents show.
With Namoa torn between her new flame and Bayda, he said he decided to raise the stakes and told her: "If you don't marry me, I'm going to do an attack and die."
Because Bayda manipulated his young bride, the lovers didn't have a genuine shared intention or 'meeting of minds' about the planned terrorism, Namoa's lawyer claims.
"The fresh evidence therefore has the capacity to sustain a verdict of acquittal, rather than merely leading to an order for a new trial, because it clearly demonstrates the applicant's innocence," barrister Chris O'Donnell SC said in written submissions.
The judge found Bayda had exaggerated his violent plot and Namoa could have been taken in by his false boasting, sending him an encouraging text saying: "I wanna do an Islamic Bonnie and Clyde version on the kuffs (an insulting reference to non-Muslims) haha."
"I lied to her … I was scared she would go back to the other guy," Bayda told his sentence hearing.
But on New Year's Eve Bayda said he and "the boys" merely went out looking for drunken revellers to rob, and after backing out of that plan they tried to start a bushfire by throwing molotov cocktails in a park and shouting "Allahu Akbar" before running to their cars.
"At that point she looked at me like I was an idiot," Bayda told his sentencing hearing.
"(She said:) 'you burnt a bush, you were going to do an attack'."
Mr O'Donnell said the newlyweds then committed to settling down and starting a family together "and discussed intimate details of consummating their relationship".
But the Crown argues Namoa's appeal should be dismissed, warning Bayda is a witness who "lacks credibility".
"The evidence itself involves a claim by Bayda that he is capable of being a manipulative liar when it suits him," Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Sarah McNaughton SC said in a written submission.
Ms McNaughton said the idea that Bayda was only posing as a radical to win Namoa's heart is at odds with the fact that he gave Namoa a hunting knife wrapped in a Shahada flag, which arresting police found in her handbag.
The Crown also pointed to huge amounts of extremist propaganda discovered on both their mobile phones and "jihad tips" including instructions for how to make an explosive device.
It comes after The Daily Telegraph revealed Namoa penned a series of disturbing letters from jail and even asked convicted murderer and Brothers 4 Life founder Bassam Hamze to take Bayda under his wing behind bars because "he needs his big brothers in Islam to hold him down".
Namoa claims to have abandoned her extremist Muslim ideology after converting to Christianity, and the Court of Criminal Appeal has reserved its decision following a hearing last month.
Originally published as 'Baby terrorist' wants stabbing plot conviction dropped