Accused terror teens had jihadists loyalty note, court hears

TWO TEENAGE friends accused of planning a terrorist attack involving bayonets were found by police with an unfinished handwritten note that pledged allegiance to the caliphate, Sydney trial has heard.

The two boys - who cannot be named - were only 16 when they were arrested at an Islamic prayer hall - called a Musallah - shortly after the M9 bayonets were bought by the older boy at a gun shop on 12 October 2016.

 

NSW police arrest two teens in Bankstown. Picture: Seven News
NSW police arrest two teens in Bankstown. Picture: Seven News

Both have pleaded not guilty to doing an act or acts between October 6 and October 12 in 2016 in Sydney in preparation for a terrorist act.

It is alleged they were going to use a bladed weapon to kill or injure a member of the public, police officer or a similar person, the court heard.

Yesterday during the first day of their trials, being heard together, at the NSW Supreme Court, Prosecutor Ian Bourke SC told a jury of four women and eight men that the older boy, now aged 18, had downloaded an online propaganda magazine which advised what sort of weapon to choose when carrying out a terrorist attack.

That included considering the "sharpness", the "strength of the blade" and seeking something "reasonably sized for the job at hand", Mr Bourke said.

The teens’ family members attended Parramatta Supreme Court yesterday.
The teens’ family members attended Parramatta Supreme Court yesterday.

The article said that serrated knives made for "good combat knives" but it explicitly advised to avoid kitchen knives because their "basic structure is not designed to handle the kind of vigorous application used for assassination", Mr Bourke said.

He said the magazine also include advice about how to choose a target - for instance trying to find a lone person at night.

The court heard that when the two boys were arrested two bayonets were found in a backpack, along with camouflage items of clothing which could be used as a disguise and an unfinished handwritten note on an A4 piece of paper in Arabic and English.

It said in Arabic: "I advise you to fear God and follow the steps of the Messenger of God and pledge allegiance to the caliphate because whoever dies without pledging allegiance will die a pre-Islamic death."

It then included an unfinished English sentence: "And I advice (sic) my brothers in the…"

"The crown says that handwritten note… amounts to or amounted to… some kind of pledge of allegiance to the caliphate which is an expression that's used often in connection with ISIS, Islamic State," Mr Bourke said.

NSW police arrest the two teens. Picture: Seven News
NSW police arrest the two teens. Picture: Seven News

He also revealed that six days before the arrests the two boys had entered the Bankstown Gun Shop and purchased two large hunting knives which were never found by police.

During this first visit to the gun shop the older boy allegedly told a shop assistant they were going "pig hunting".

A  family member leaves Parramatta children's court. Picture: John Grainger
A family member leaves Parramatta children's court. Picture: John Grainger

On his second visit the day of the arrest he entered the store alone, while the younger boy, now aged 17, waited outside on the footpath.

Mr Bourke said the older boy paid $230 cash for the two bayonets and a knife sharpener, saying "We are going away hunting, I want to get one for my friend".

The court heard the boys, both of whom were Muslim, had been friends and attended the same Western Sydney high school for a period together.

On one occasion in June 2014 the older boy refused to stand for the national anthem during a school assembly - and the younger boy followed his lead, Mr Bourke told the court.

The court heard the older boy allegedly said to the principal "I will only stand for Allah" and "I do not respect the Australian government because they sent troops overseas to kill the men and rape the women".

NSW police speak to the two teens in Bankstown in 2016. Picture: Seven News
NSW police speak to the two teens in Bankstown in 2016. Picture: Seven News

The older boy the following year also refused to stand for the national anthem again, the court heard, writing a note to teachers which said it was forbidden because you're "only allowed to stand for God".

Mr Bourke said this was a "very conservative" and "extremist" view of Islam which was not correct in the ordinary practice of the religion.

The court also heard the older boy attended a protest in 2012 at Hyde Park when he was just 12 years old and was filmed holding a large poster that said: "behead all those who insult the prophet".

The older boy's lawyer Bruce Walmsley QC told the jury the purchase of the knife would in a sense be a "sideshow".

"It is relevant to the charge (my client) faces, but it doesn't determine it," he said, adding it was not that simple.

A woman leaves Parramatta children's court. Picture: John Grainger
A woman leaves Parramatta children's court. Picture: John Grainger

The barrister for the younger boy James Trevallion said the evidence in the trial was mostly "circumstantial".

"You are being asked in effect to get inside the head of the accused and try and determine what it was he was intending to do, if anything, other than just what it was in fact they did between 6 and 12 October 2016," he said.

The trial before Justice Geoffrey Bellew continues.

THE LETTER COPS SAY THEY FOUND SAID:

"I advise you to fear God and follow the steps of the Messenger of God and pledge allegiance to the caliphate because whoever dies without pledging allegiance will die a pre-Islamic death."



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