Prosecutors examining thousands of videos, photos from alleged Wakeley church attacker’s phone: court

Police are trolling though more than 52,000 photos and 7,500 videos stored on the phone of a teen accused of carrying out a terrorist attack at a Sydney church, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old boy appeared before Parramatta Childrens Court on Friday charged with committing a terrorist act following an investigation by the AFP, ASIO, and NSW Police.

Police allege the teen, who cannot be named, stabbed Assyrian church bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel multiple times at Hope the Good Shepherd Church in Sydney’s west on April 15.

Another man allegedly suffered lacerations after church members rushed to restrain the teen, with the frenzied alleged incident livestreamed by the church during its service.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution representative told the court they were examining the stash of photos and videos “for the purpose of designation of terrorism evidence”.

The representative said the material would take time to examine and went on to warn parallel proceedings for forensic order for evidence from the scene could also delay the proceedings.

The court was also told the teen now faces a further two charges, including causing grievous bodily harm with intent to murder in relation to the alleged attack on Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel.

The second additional charge – wounding a person with intent to cause grievous bodily harm – relates to injuries allegedly inflicted by the teen on Father Isaac Royel that same night.

He was refused bail to reappear before the court for brief service order in just over a month on July 26.

Police allege the teen travelled about 90 minutes to the western Sydney church to carry out the attack, and if convicted faces a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The court was previously told the boy, who was remanded into custody having been refused bail, had a history of behaviour consistent with mental illness or intellectual disability.

A further six teenagers aged between 15 and 17 who police allege were in a network with the alleged stabber have also been charged by officers with terrorism-related offences.

Police additionally have charged 29 people, five of them as recently as Thursday, over an alleged riot sparked by the attack during which multiple police cars were damaged.

The 29 people are not accused of involvement in terrorist activity.

Despite the sweeping arrest, police on Friday reiterated calls for assistance in identifying a further seven people investigators believe may be able to assist in their inquiries.

More to come.

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