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Teen made massacre threat: judge

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 By By Margaret Scheikowski

A Sydney teenager discussed on social media using a knife to kill as many people as possible to make it the "worst bloody" massacre since Port Arthur, a court has been told.

Other alleged posts included saying he would take his own life afterwards and he would be happy as long as "it's over 25, 50", said to refer to the number of intended victims.

His family wept as the 17-year-old, who has an intellectual disability and Asperger's syndrome, was refused bail on Friday in the NSW Supreme Court.

While the likelihood of the teenager carrying out his threats was relatively low, "the consequences if he did so are likely to be horrific", Justice Robert Beech-Jones said.

The teenager is charged with preparation for, or planning a terrorist act and using a telecommunications network with intention to commit a serious offence.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) alleges the youth published posts which revealed an intention to attack members of the public with a knife in a suicidal attack on a crowded public area in Sydney.

The alleged motivation was to make a statement about the mistreatment of people with mental illness.

When interviewed, the teenager said it had nothing to do with terrorism, but was motivated by "his wanting to seek revenge in a way for how I was treated during my childhood".

"I could never hurt anybody, not in my life," he said, adding that what he did was not acceptable.

The judge described the prosecution case as "weak", partly due to evidence suggesting it was unlikely the teenager intended to carry out his threats.

But the main reason was because the prosecution had minimal prospects of establishing that he planned a "terrorist attack".

Despite these findings and an acceptance that the youth will be affected by his incarceration due to his age and mental fragility, the judge said he was obliged to refuse the application.

"....the risk posed by a nihilistic attack on people congregating in a public place cannot be adequately mitigated, even by a form of strict house arrest."

The result that such a vulnerable youth was to be detained even though the charges against him were weak was concerning, the judge said.

The CDPP had submitted that the charges would be "very, very carefully reviewed".

The judge noted that terror-related charges prevented the youth receiving supervision, counselling and assistance that he clearly needs.

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