A Sydney teenager has pleaded guilty to planning a terrorist attack and carrying out a shooting spree in Sydney.
Tamim Khaja, 20, was convicted in the NSW Supreme Court in Parramatta this morning of planning a terrorist attack in Sydney which would have resulted in the “mass murder” of innocent civilians.
Khaja conducted reconnaissance on a number of sites he planned to attack including the Parramatta Courthouse complex and the Timor Army Barracks at Dundas during 2016.
Khaja’s trial was meant to start in the Supreme Court today but his guilty plea now means his case will proceed straight to sentence.
At the age of 18 Khaja, of Macquarie Park, investigated purchasing a number of weapons to carry out his attack including trying to buy a suicide vest online as his plotting evolved.
He was arrested outside Parramatta Stadium during a counter terrorism sting after allegedly trying to buy a gun off a person he thought was a criminal figure when in fact it was an undercover police officer on May 17, 2016.
Khaja, a former Epping Boys High School student, appeared in the dock sporting a beard and showed no sign of nerves upon entering his guilty to plea.
His Barrister Gregory Scragg told the court Khaja would participate in the NSW Corrective Service deradicalisation program and required a mental health assessment prior to sentencing.
Justice Des Fagan said there would need to be compelling evidence the deradicalisation program had merit given Khaja’s extremist islamic beliefs.
“When a plea like this is entered, the planning and preparing for effectively a mass murder attack pursuing islamic dominance of the country, the idea a person can be rehabilitated from such views of religious zeal by a program needs some substantiation,” Justice Fagan told the court.
“He (Khaja) has committed this offence not in some moment of rage or passion or furtherance of some other crime in the normal criminal calendar but has pursued it in relation to a philosophy.
“When a person is convinced of a philosophy to point where it warrants mass murder the court is really concerned.”
Prior to his arrest in February 2016 he had his passport cancelled after he was stopped allegedly trying to travel to Syria.
Khaja will return to the NSW Supreme Court in February next year for sentencing.