Teenage Boy Faces Intent to Murder Charge for Stabbing Christian Orthodox Bishop

The charge of intent to murder pertains to Bishop Emmanuel, while the charge of intent to cause grievous bodily harm pertains to Father Royal.
Teenage Boy Faces Intent to Murder Charge for Stabbing Christian Orthodox Bishop
Police investigate at the Assyrian Christ The Good Shepherd Church after a knife attack took place during a service the night before, in Wakeley in Sydney, Australia, April 16, 2024. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy/File Photo
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The teenager accused of stabbing an Orthodox Christian bishop during a live-streamed service will face new charges on top of an existing charge of committing a terrorist act.

A court was told on June 14 that the 16-year-old boy will also face charges of wounding with intent to murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The boy attended a sermon at Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley, Sydney, pulled out a knife, and repeatedly stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.

He also injured a 39-year-old priest, Father Isaac Royal.

The 16-year-old attacker, who the police suspected to have recently converted to Islam, suffered injuries including losing a finger during the assault.

The charge of intent to murder pertains to Bishop Emmanuel, while the charge of intent to cause grievous bodily harm pertains to Father Royal.

The boy was previously charged with a terrorism offence, which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.

The court was told that investigators have identified 52,000 images and 7,500 videos on the teen’s phone, some of which will require a terrorism evidence notice to access.

“That does take some time,” the crown prosecutor told Parramatta Children’s Court.

The boy’s lawyer, Greg Scragg, said the boy had a history of behaviour consistent with a mental illness or intellectual disability.

“We may seek to bring this matter back earlier if a question arises in relation to his treatment or assessment for those conditions whilst he’s in custody,” he told the court.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the attack meets the definition of a terrorist act.

“It has to be political, religious, or ideologically motivated, violent extremism. And it’s to further a cause,” he said.

In his first public comments since the attack, Bishop Emmanuel said he forgave “whoever has done this act.”

“I say to him, you’re my son. I love you. And I will always pray for you and whoever sent you to do this, I forgive them as well,” he said.

“Whatever has happened to me personally, I thank the Lord Jesus, that’s a huge blessing for me.”

Police have also charged five other juveniles in relation to the stabbing.

Two males, aged 17 and 14 years, were charged with possessing or controlling violent extremist material obtained or accessed using a carriage service.

One boy, aged 17, was charged with conspiring to engage in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act and custody of a knife in a public place.

Two boys, both aged 16, face offences for conspiring to engage in any act in preparation for or planning a terrorist act.

A further six people were charged over violent riots outside the church following the alleged stabbing, taking the tally of those facing court over the ugly melee to 29 people.

The alleged stabber’s matter is due to return to court on July 26.

AAP contributed to this article 
Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural, and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at [email protected].
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