CANBERRA, Australia, March 23 (UPI) -- The chief of Australian intelligence says there are at least 80 people in the country with known terror links who will likely never be prosecuted.
Australian Security Intelligence Organization director-general Dennis Richardson said one reason for the low prosecution rate was that laws in Australia dealing with terrorist offenses only came into force in July 2002, The Australian reported.
He said another hurdle was the added difficulty of gathering sufficient evidence to meet legal standards.
Just five people have faced or are facing legal proceedings in relation to Australian terrorism laws.
"Properly considered, balanced, tough laws are an essential component in the fight against terrorism," Richardson said.
"The notion that such laws constitute a victory for terrorists is a nonsense. Their victory lies in the death of innocent civilians -- ours lies in its lawful prevention."