A former reporter in Australia bought a scimitar-like sword before trying to “lure” Christians to his home and threatening to kill them in reprisal for the Christchurch massacre, a court has heard.
James Michael Waugh, 28, faced the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Magistrates Court on April 30, where he applied for bail for the second time and was refused.
During Waugh’s application, one prosecutor, Rae-ann Khazma, told the court that Waugh had, since his arrest on April 2, spoken to a doctor while in custody and said that he had intentions of “luring in potential victims to his house” in reprisal for the Christchurch massacre that took place on March 15.
“He made it clear he would either engage in battle … making him a martyr or to make them look bad,” she said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
“He also indicated his use of a scimitar [Middle-Eastern curved sword] depending on how many Christians turned up and whether they were armed.”
A former journalist bought a scimitar from Pakistan before trying to lure Christians to his Canberra home and threatening to kill them in reprisal for the Christchurch massacre, a court has heard.https://t.co/ylgCRe9HXt
— Canberra Times (@canberratimes) April 30, 2019
Alleged Death Threats on Facebook
Waugh was arrested at his home in Griffith, Canberra, on April 2, after he allegedly posted online threats to kill members of a church in Canberra. He was charged with multiple crimes including possessing an object with the intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm, using a carriage service in a menacing manner, and making threats to kill.
A tip to the National Security Hotline by one of Waugh’s friends had alerted police to the online posts.
“I’m going to kill every single one of you dog polytheist [expletive],” said one post that Waugh had allegedly written on March 23, local time, on the Facebook page of the Canberra House of Prayer. The threatening message was captured in a screenshot and posted in an article by the ABC.
“I’ve bought a scimitar and intend to cut their heads off in my front yard as a reprisal,” Waugh allegedly said in another message sent to numerous people in a Facebook Messenger group chat, court documents in early April showed, according to the ABC.
“I have issued threats, along with my name and address, to every coward dog church in Canberra,” the message also said.
In early April, the court also heard that Waugh had undergone a mental health assessment, which showed that he had no mental illness to explain his conduct.
At the time, Prosecutor Danielle Perks said the assessment suggested that Waugh would be a danger if he was released.
“[He showed] the ideation of a clear intention to harm others based on the defendant’s extreme religious beliefs,” she said, according to the ABC.
Not Trusted to Be Granted Bail
On April 30, Khazma told the court that Waugh had expressed intentions to leave the ACT with his brother. She added that his computer had shown searches for areas in Queensland and central Australia.
Khazma added that Waugh had told a doctor that he did not acknowledge the Australian Government, nor Australian laws. She said that based on all the information presented, Waugh could not be trusted to be given bail and meet his conditions to stay within the ACT.
Waugh’s lawyer, Helen Hayunga, said that he should be granted bail because there was no evidence that he would act on his threats. She said there was no evidence to show he was in contact with criminals, nor that he had lured someone to his house. She also said that police had seized his phone and computer.
“It is one thing to espouse bizarre or intemperate views and another to act upon them,” she said, according to the ABC. “The difficulty for the prosecution … is that there is no evidence he was going to act [on his threats].”
“Beyond the acquisition of the weapon,” Magistrate Peter Morrison interjected.
Waugh formerly worked for the Queanbeyan Age, a regional newspaper in New South Wales, now owned by Nine.
He left the paper in the last six months for another job but has since been unemployed for at least a month, according to Nine.
Waugh is remanded in custody until his next court date.