Teacher up for terrorism

2006-05-11 15:16

Sydney - Australian police have filed a terror charge against a high school teacher, who allegedly stockpiled bombs at his home in the east coast city of Brisbane.

John Howard Amundsen, 40, appeared in a Brisbane court on Thursday, charged with fraudulently obtaining 53kg of an explosive substance called Powergel.

He has been charged with preparing a terrorist act, as well as two counts of making a threat and making a hoax threat.

His lawyer angrily denied Amundsen was a terrorist

Amundsen was ordered to appear in court on Friday on the fresh charges.

Bomb squad officers evacuated 30 nearby houses and sent a remote-controlled robot into Amundsen's home to hunt for explosives on Tuesday night, after Australian authorities became suspicious of his attempts to buy explosives.

They also evacuated and searched Ferny Grove State High School, where Amundsen teaches.

"Mr Amundsen is not a terrorist, he's not associated with any terrorist organisations," said his lawyer, Andrew Boe.

"I think the public should, and the media should, just drop the ante a little bit about being too preoccupied that this has got anything to do with terrorism. It hasn't."

Boe said there was a "completely plausible and non-nefarious explanation for the circumstances in which he (Amundsen) finds himself".

Amundsen first appeared in the Brisbane court on Wednesday, where he claimed the explosives were for a television shoot.