- Khaled Merhi, 40, was one of four men arrested over an alleged conspiracy
- Merhi was previously accused of possessing a weapon without a permit
- But charge was dismissed after it was found to be an improvised fly swatter
A Sydney man arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot has had a weapons charge over an improvised ‘fly swatter’ dismissed.
Khaled Merhi, 40, was one of four men arrested last year over an alleged conspiracy to bring down an Etihad plane bound for the Middle East from Sydney with an improvised bomb.
He was never charged with terror offences but, after a raid on his Surry Hills property, he was accused of possessing a weapon without a permit – a charge to which Mr Merhi pleaded guilty.
Khaled Merhi, 40, was one of four men arrested last year over an alleged conspiracy to bring down an Etihad plane bound for the Middle East from Sydney with an improvised bomb
But magistrate Jacqueline Milledge dismissed the charge in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday after police prosecutor Amin Assaad said the object was actually an improvised fly swatter.
Sen Sgt Assaad said the effect of the device was 300-times less than the voltage of a NSW police Taser, and the time Mr Merhi had already spent in custody was sufficient penalty for the offence.
The magistrate acknowledged the case had personally and physically impacted Mr Merhi, who was injured during his arrest.
She took into account the effect of media publicity, and that it was Mr Merhi himself who brought the object to the police’s attention.
‘Be careful who you’re mixing with in the future, Mr Merhi,’ she said after dismissing the case.
The device was used as a fly swatter before it was converted to a barbeque lighter