Man convicted of plotting Bankstown knife attack dragged into courtroom
Affected Countries: australia;
A teen terrorist who plotted to execute a bloody attack in western Sydney has been dragged headfirst into court after barricading himself in his prison cell with a mattress, telling a judge he refused to take part in his “false trial”.
Known as AB, he was one of two 16-year-old boys police swooped on at a Bankstown prayer hall after undercover cops watched them buy two knives from a nearby gun shop in October 2016.
One of the teens told the shop owner he needed the M9 bayonets to go “pig hunting”.
By pigs they meant police, as the boys planned to act on an Islamic State call to arms urging followers to ‘Kill disbelievers on the streets of Brunswick, Broadmeadows, Bankstown, and Bondi”.
When police stopped AB near the hall – a stone’s throw from the local court and police station – they found two knives in his backpack and a letter pledging allegiance to the caliph.
Now 20, the young man was meant to act as his own lawyer at his sentence hearing before the Supreme Court at Parramatta on Wednesday after he was found guilty at trial in April.
He was carried into the dock headfirst by four corrective services officers, some of whom had fistfuls of the orange jumpsuit he had been clothed in.
Surrounded by prison officers, he began muttering outbursts about his “corrupt … false trial” as Justice Geoffrey Bellew detailed Wednesday morning’s events at Goulburn’s high-security management centre.
“You brought me here for no reason, you can take me down,” AB said. “These are false proceedings. I don’t want to be here.”
This court heard AB was stripped of his clothes by prison guards on Wednesday morning having attempted to barricade himself in his cell to avoid the journey to Parramatta.
He recently embarked on a month-long hunger strike in protest over his guilty verdict and needed to be transferred to Long Bay Hospital to be put on a drip after refusing to even drink fluids.
Justice Bellew allowed the officers to lead him from the court after consulting with Crown prosecutor Paul Maguire SC, who said the teen had the power to choose whether or not to be present at the proceedings.
That meant AB’s father was forced to step into the breach to defend his son before the court. He described his son as a “shy” boy who was “scared of knives”, claiming he had been visiting a “kebab shop” – not the gun store – on the day of his arrest.
Outside court the father told media he still believed his son was “innocent” but feared he could be jailed for life.
“There’s no case,” he said.
Justice Bellew permitted the man to address the court despite being told AB had advised his father not to represent him but soon decided he could not let the evidence continue.
“You are revisiting things that you say happened in the trial; the trial is over. Your son has been found guilty and I now have to sentence him,” Justice Bellew said.“I don’t want to be difficult … but I am placed in a very difficult position.”
The man’s co-accused, XY, was sentenced to 16 years in prison after being found guilty in 2018. He will be locked up in a juvenile detention centre until his 21st birthday.
But the court heard that was no longer an option available to Justice Bellew, who also sentenced XY, as the relevant legislation was amended just two days ago.
Mr Maguire argued both boys were acting “in concert” and their criminality was equal, adding there was no evidence AB’s support for extremist groups had wavered since his arrest.
AB will be sentenced on November 11.