SIX members of a terrorist organisation that plotted to bomb the MCG and Flinders St station have had a total of 8 1/2 years knocked off their minimum jail terms.
The Court of Appeal described the home-grown terrorist cell as "towards the lower end of the scale of seriousness" although it would have carried out attacks if it had not been shut down.
The court said sentencing judges should differentiate between terrorists that are "a rag-tag collection of malcontents" who might do something evil and hardline terrorists such as al-Qaida.
Two members of the terrorist cell were released this year and the ruling means two others will be free within weeks.
Court president Justice Chris Maxwell and Justices Geoff Nettle and Mark Weinberg said the words "terrorist organisation" might apply to a group that planned a terrorist attack of "as yet undetermined nature and scope".
"On the other hand it may include a terrorist organisation like al-Qaida or Jemaah Islamiah with a proven record of committing the worst terrorist acts imaginable," they said.
The men, who were sentenced in February last year, all appealed against conviction on the ground that the trial judge misdirected the jury. Five of the seven appealed against their sentences.
Abdul Nacer Benbrika, 49, the self-appointed sheik and leader of the band of hard-line Muslim "brothers", won a retrial on possessing an item connected with the preparation of a terrorist attack but the appeal court did not reduce his original 12-year minimum term.
Aimen Joud, 23, had convictions for two similar counts quashed and was resentenced for his remaining terrorist charges to six years and six months, a reduction of 18 months.
Ahmad Raad, 25, was re-sentenced to six years and six months, a reduction of 18 month. Ezzit Raad, 26, had his sentence reduced by 15 months to four years and six months; Fadl Sayadi, 28, by nine months to five years and three months; Amer Haddara, 29, by two years to four years; Abdullah Merhi, 23, by 18 months to three years.
Abdullah Merhi and Amer Haddara were freed in May.
In chilling phone calls played during their trial the plotters talked of picking targets around Melbourne to cause maximum casualties.
Cell members who plotted to bomb MCG win appeals | Herald Sun