CONTENT WARNING: This article contains offensive language.
The former president of the Canberra Rebels said he was “happy to go to jail” during one of his foul-mouthed and aggressive rants to several recipients. He has now been sentenced to 13 months’ imprisonment for his behaviour.
His supporters filled the seats of the ACT Magistrates Court gallery on Tuesday (2 August) and several let out audible gasps when Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker announced 50-year-old Ali Hassan Bilal’s total sentence and bluntly told him, “You’re going to prison today”.
He was convicted of two counts of using a carriage service to threaten to cause serious harm and three counts of using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence.
The offences were recorded via five intercepted phone calls Bilal made to four victims over 2021. Chief Magistrate Walker said he used his position as the president of the Rebels during his offences.
In the first call on 19 January 2021, he screamed, “I’m gunna stomp on your f–ing head now”.
“Twenty-four hours you’ve got to get the f**k out of my state; otherwise, I’m gunna shoot you. And take your f****n’ b***h with you,” he said.
In a call on 25 January 2021, he told another man, “I’m outside in the car park. If you call me mate again, I’m not going to be outside in the car park again”.
“I’m sorry. I’m bloody sh*ting myself. I have no idea what’s going on,” the man replied.
On 26 June 2021, he told a woman he had known since she was eight years old that he wanted her to get another man to meet with him.
“I don’t wanna speak to him. I’m gunna f***ing kill this c**t and I’m gunna make you watch,” he said.
He also screamed, “Get him to meet me. I’m gunna f**k him, his mother, his father, I’m not gunna leave anybody tonight”.
Chief Magistrate Walker said this woman’s parents had apparently asked Bilal to modify her behaviour because she was using drugs. They also gave a character reference describing Bilal as a “go-to person” for solving problems.
But she described the threats in the call as “grandiose and alarming” and said, “it’s not entirely clear how these threats relate to [the woman’s] drug use”.
She said when it came to the fifth call on 12 August 2021, Bilal claimed he had been helping this victim since he was 18 and felt betrayed by him as he was moving in with someone he disapproved of.
Bilal said he and others would go to the man’s worksite and “we’ll deal with you in public in front of everybody to finally make a statement in this town”.
“I’m happy to go to jail for it,” Bilal said.
“You see, I was taught as a kid that little rottweiler that you raise and you pat and you feed and you clean its arse and you make sure it doesn’t get wet and you make sure it’s got somewhere to live, the day it bites you, you have to shoot it in the head because it’s just going to keep biting you.”
He later said, “Ring your mother, make sure she’s okay so she hears your voice. That’s all I’m gunna say to ya because I’m not gunna allow the people who tell me they love me to f**k me anymore”.
Chief Magistrate Walker said he was verging on apoplectic in the first call and she could infer it probably instilled “real fear” into the recipient, while the fifth call was an example of “manipulative aggression”.
Bilal claimed he didn’t intend to carry out any of the threats, but she said his victims couldn’t have known that.
His barrister Margaret Jones SC has previously said he is no longer involved with the Rebels and a report from a counselling service stated he had made attempts to distance himself from his gang association.
Bilal will only have to serve four months behind bars as his remaining jail time will be suspended if he enters an 18-month recognisance order.
This was no consolation to his supporters, who broke into loud sobs and cries before he was led away into custody. He will be released in December 2022.