Boy accused of terrorist act in Sydney church faces new charges of stabbing bishop and priest

SYDNEY (AP) — A 16-year-old boy accused of committing a terrorist act by stabbing a bishop in a Sydney church in April faces two additional charges, a court was told on Friday.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested at the scene of the stabbing on April 15 in an Assyrian Orthodox church as a service was being streamed online.

The earlier charge of committing a terrorist act carries a possible life sentence, while the new charges carry maximum sentences of 25 years each.

A prosecutor told the Parramatta Children’s Court on Friday that the boy had also been charged with wounding with intent to murder Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm a priest, Rev. Isaac Royel. Neither cleric sustained life-threatening injuries.

Police have identified 52,000 images and 7,500 videos from the boy's phone that could be used as evidence in the terrorist charge prosecution.

Prosecutors expect to provide defense lawyers with the final evidence within six weeks.

The boy did not apply for release on bail on Friday and remains in custody.

The stabbing sparked a riot outside the Christ The Good Shepherd Church and a major investigation involving police and Australia’s main domestic spy agency.

Police have also arrested six other boys aged 14 to 17 who they allege are part of the 16-year-old’s network. Police say they all “adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology.”

The six allegedly plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people after the bishop was stabbed. They have been charged with an array of offenses including conspiring to engage in or planning a terrorist act.

Police said on Thursday that 29 people had been charged with rioting offenses outside and church on April 15 and others identified from video images were being sought.

The rioting left 51 police officers injured and 104 police vehicles damaged.

The Associated Press