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Last Updated: Monday, 3 May, 2004, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Australian in 'bomb plot' trial
John Roche
Mr Roche's lawyer has insisted his client is innocent
A British-born Muslim convert charged with plotting to bomb diplomatic missions in Australia has gone on trial.

Jack Roche, 49, who is an Australian citizen, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy.

He is accused of planning to blow up Israel's consulate in Sydney and its embassy in Canberra.

The trial, which is taking place at the Supreme Court in Perth, is expected to last for up to three weeks.

Charges denied

It is alleged he conspired with radical groups in Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mr Roche's lawyer has insisted his client is innocent and rejects violence.

The 49-year-old faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison if convicted.

Mr Roche was arrested in November 2002 during raids by Australian police that targeted suspected sympathisers of the radical Islamic group, Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

The English-born suspect converted to Islam more than a decade ago and has been living in Perth in Western Australia for several years.

The Australian authorities believe he is a member of JI, a militant group based in South-east Asia with links to al-Qaeda.

The Muslim convert told an Australian radio station that he had attended lectures given by the alleged spiritual leader of J.I. Abu Bakar Bashir.

He said the talks only covered religious topics and he has denied having any association with terrorist organisations.

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