Sydney teenager accused of terrorism-related offenses denied bail

A judge has denied bail to a 15-year-old boy who was allegedly in a network planning terrorist acts and who claimed to be friends with another teenager accused of stabbing a Sydney bishop last month.

The attack on the bishop sparked an investigation that led to the arrest of six teenagers, ages 14 to 17, who were charged last week with a variety of crimes including conspiracy to participate in or plan a terrorist act. All remain in custody.

The 15-year-old’s lawyer, Ahmed Dib, had applied for bail at Parramatta Youth Court, arguing there were exceptional circumstances that required his client’s release.

But Magistrate James Viney ruled that no such circumstances existed.

“There is an unacceptable risk to the protection of the community,” Viney said.

Viney said he found the boy’s alleged threats to stab Jews or Assyrians, a predominantly Christian ethnic group native to the Middle East, and an alleged assault “seriously disturbing.”

“The messages clearly made the young man want to do something catastrophic,” Viney said.

The boy was already in custody on an assault charge when the terrorism-related charge was added.

Early last week, he was accused of being part of a group that threw rocks at a liquor store employee.

Security officers stand guard outside the Assyrian Orthodox Church in Sydney, Australia.

The boy allegedly threw a wooden board that narrowly missed its target. The boy was apparently carrying a knife at the time.

Prosecutor Rebekah Rodger said the boy had told associates in an encrypted group chat that the 16-year-old accused of stabbing an Assyrian Orthodox bishop and priest on April 15 was “my partner.”

Later, the boy’s lawyer, Dib, told reporters he would apply for bail to the New South Wales state Supreme Court.

Documents Dib had presented as evidence of his client’s special circumstances showed that the boy had a history of behavioral problems, lacked confidence and had low self-esteem.

The boy held his head up with his hand for much of the hearing as he watched from custody via video link, while his parents sat in court.

Viney said he had “no doubt” that the parents loved and supported their son, and that they had confiscated his phone after becoming concerned about his behavior.

“They’re really shocked by the charges he’s facing,” Viney said.

At the end of the hearing, the mother left the courtroom crying.

Police alleged that the six teenagers arrested last week “adhered to a violent, religiously motivated extremist ideology” and were part of a network that included the boy accused of the stabbing at the Church of Christ the Good Shepherd while a service was being broadcast. . online. Neither the bishop nor the priest suffered life-threatening injuries.

The boy arrested in the stabbings was charged with committing a terrorist act four days after the attack that sparked a riot outside the church.