Teenager in custody requests release on bail in relation to stabbing of Sydney bishop

A 15-year-old boy who said he was a friend of a teen accused of stabbing a Sydney bishop applied on Wednesday to be released from custody on bail on a charge. The 15-year-old is one of six teens, ages 14 to 17, who were charged in a Sydney court last week with a range of offenses including conspiring to engage in or planning a terrorist act. All remain in custody. Police alleged they all “adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology” and were part of a network that included a 16-year-old boy charged with stabbing an Assyrian Orthodox bishop and priest on April 15 as a church service was being streamed online. The 15-year-old’s lawyer, Ahmed Dib, argued in the Parramatta Children’s Court that Magistrate James Viney should allow his client to be released on bail due to exceptional circumstances. Prosecutor Rebekah Rodger opposed the bail application, arguing the boy’s circumstances were unexceptional. Viney will make his decision as early as Thursday. Dib tendered a bundle of documents including an affidavit from the boy’s mother, school report cards and a psychological report. The documents showed the boy had a history of behavioral issues, lacked confidence and had low self-esteem. The prosecutor argued such factors were to be expected.”A young person with behavioral issues facing is not exceptional, it is rather the norm,” Rodger said. The boy had been part of an encrypted chat group titled “Plans” where he talked about targeting Jewish people, Rodger said. Rodger said he had also described the teen charged with the stabbings at Christ the Good Shepherd Church as “my mate.” The bishop’s attacker was charged with committing a terrorist act four days after stabbing that triggered a riot outside the church. Neither nor priest suffered life-threatening injuries. The attack also triggered a major multi-agency counterterrorism response that led to the arrest of another six teens the next week. Dib told the court the boy put on a macho performance on social media messages about planning an attack and was not the “monster” prosecutors sought to paint him as. Dib’s client was charged Friday, a day after his five alleged associates were charged. Two hand-drawn Islamic State group flags were found in the client’s bedroom when police raided it last week. He watched proceedings by video link from a detention center while his parents attended court.