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Melbourne terror teen's youth key: lawyer

AAP logoAAP 3/08/2016 By Melissa Iaria

The radical Melbourne teen who plotted to behead a police officer in an Anzac Day terror attack has been compared in court to an extremist university student who turned conservative with age.

Defence barrister George Georgiou SC told the Victorian Supreme Court that Sevdet Ramadan Besim was immature, unsophisticated and his youth should count in his favour when he is sentenced next month.

"I don't seek to lighten the crime, but we all would have experienced in our university days those who were of extreme radical views and who now work as stockbrokers or accountants. Or lawyers," Mr Georgiou told Justice Michael Croucher on Wednesday.

"There's that maturation process that occurs that as an 18-year-old he doesn't have. Indeed, I would say very few 18-year-olds have."

Besim, now 19, has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to do an act in preparation for or planning a terror act.

He admits plotting a gruesome attack where he would run down a police officer and behead him in a rampage that would ultimately end in his own death.

Mr Georgiou told Besim's plea hearing his relatively young age meant he did not have a "long, entrenched background" when it came to extremist views.

He was also in touch with his moderate family, moderate imams, and had told his psychologist he now overtly rejects violence and has changed his extremist views - a point the prosecution doesn't believe.

The court heard Besim was collecting extremist material from December 2014 and April 2015.

The prosecution has argued there's not enough evidence Besim has abandoned his extremist views and believes he remains a danger to the community.

Mr Georgiou said that a hand-drawn IS flag found in Besim's jail cell in September and newspaper clippings about violent jihadis fighting overseas did not mean that he still held those radical beliefs.

Besim was remanded in custody for sentencing on September 5.

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