PROMINENT Australian leaders Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Anna Bligh were among those a Caboolture man targeted in a "terror campaign" involving explosives sent through the post.

John Gilbert Gordon, 81, was sentenced to 2.5 years in jail when he faced Brisbane District Court today.

He must serve eight months before he is released on a three-year good behaviour bond.

Justice Brian Devereaux said Gordon's actions, taking advantage of the anonymity of Australia's postal service, was "mean and cowardly".

He said the postal service was an "important social institution and he had abused it.

"It was beyond nuisance to menacing and dangerous," he said.

The court heard he had sent menacing and offensive letters, some including a .22 calibre bullet inside a detonator, to Parliament House in Brisbane and Canberra.

He also targeted former Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby, Westpac and Commonwealth bank CEOs in Sydney, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens and motel owners he believed were harbouring asylum seekers.

Many of the threatening letters related to educating funding or immigration policies.

Judge Devereaux said Gordon was only caught because Australian Federal Police forensic analysts were able to read an imprint on one of the letters from a previous letter written on a page above.

Threats mailed to public figures

EXPLOSIVES, a bomb hoax and a threat to kill sent to "important public figures" through the mail formed part of a Caboolture man's "campaign of terror".

John Gilbert Gordon, 81, targeted Queensland's Archbishop and former premier Anna Bligh because he was angered about the way private schools were being funded at the expense of state schools.

He also targeted federal politicians at Parliament House in Canberra over immigration policies.

Gordon used Australia Post to deliver two offensive letters, two menacing letters, six explosive packages, one threat to kill and a bomb hoax.

Commonwealth prosecutor Ben Satiu said the father of two's "terror" campaign involved sending articles to people he blamed for perceived slights against him or people with links to government policies on immigration and education funding.

He said the explosives sent through the mail included live detonators and bullets.

Mr Satiu said the detonator could have exploded if handled the wrong way.

He said the bullet was placed inside the detonator which could also have been set off.

Police found a host of field rifles and shotguns with powerful calibres, as well as two silencers, during a search at Caboolture on November 11, 2010.

The arrest came after a 14-month investigation, lengthy because of the anonymity of post.

Defence barrister Bruce Mumford said the detonators, which his client took home while he working as a powder man with a Victorian water body in 1950, could only be detonated if they were hit with a hammer.

But Judge Brian Devereaux said it was not the important public figures who found the explosives and threats, it was people in mail rooms who opened mail on their behalf and they would not know how dangerous the objects were.

He said these offences struck at a fundamental institution in our society. Judge Devereaux said Gordon was only detected by "some crafty forensic work" where analysts identified an imprint of writing from another page.

He reserved his decision until tomorrow.



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