Auckland terrorist was facing charges over attack on prison staff while on remand

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Police Commissioner Andrew Coster share detail about an attack at a supermarket in Auckland.

The Isis-inspired terrorist who stabbed six people at an Auckland supermarket was facing charges relating to an attack on Corrections officers inside prison while he was awaiting trial.

The man, who has name suppression, was shot dead by police in a Countdown supermarket at LynnMall, New Lynn, on Friday.

Stuff can now reveal he was facing charges in relation to a serious assault on Corrections officers.

The man who stabbed six people before police shot him dead at Countdown New Lynn, pictured here in photos posted to social media, had extreme views and was found with Isis propaganda.
SUPPLIED/Stuff
The man who stabbed six people before police shot him dead at Countdown New Lynn, pictured here in photos posted to social media, had extreme views and was found with Isis propaganda.

The incident, inside Mt Eden remand prison happened in June 2020 while the man was awaiting trial in the High Court. Stuff understands one of the officers had his nose broken in the incident.

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The man was later found guilty of possessing two objectionable publications and refusing to comply with a police search, but was acquitted of possessing a hunting knife and possessing an objectionable video.

It is understood that while awaiting trial, the man got into an argument with Corrections officers.

As a result, he was charged with injuring with reckless disregard, and assault with intent to injure.

He pleaded not guilty, was granted name suppression and was eventually released on bail.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Corrections confirmed the assault and said the man was transferred to the country’s only maximum security prison – Auckland Prison, at Paremoremo.

His case was called at an emergency hearing at Auckland District Court on Saturday where Crown Prosecutor Brian Dickey said he would be asking the Solicitor General for a stay of proceedings, meaning the man could be named.

The man who stabbed six people before police shot him dead at Countdown New Lynn had extremist views. He is pictured here in photos taken some years ago an posted to social media.
SUPPLIED/Stuff
The man who stabbed six people before police shot him dead at Countdown New Lynn had extremist views. He is pictured here in photos taken some years ago an posted to social media.

The Crown previously tried to use anti-terror laws against the man but was turned down by a High Court judge in July 2020.

The Crown sought to also have him charged under the Terror Suppression Act, claiming he was planning a “knife attack”.

But in a judgment released in July 2020, Justice Mathew Downs declined the application after reviewing the legislation and what it allowed.

Police stand outside the New Lynn shopping mall in West Auckland after an ISIS inspired man attacked wounded six shoppers with a knife. He was shot dead by undercover police.
LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff
Police stand outside the New Lynn shopping mall in West Auckland after an ISIS inspired man attacked wounded six shoppers with a knife. He was shot dead by undercover police.

The judgement contains background information on the man. He was originally from Sri Lanka and arrived in New Zealand in 2011.

Five years later, in 2016 he was warned by the police after posting material on the internet.

The posts, described as “staunchly anti-Western” in court documents, included graphic violence and comments advocating extremism.

Court documents show the man continued posting similar content online.

In 2017, he was arrested at the airport after telling a person at an Auckland mosque he wanted to go to Syria “to fight for Isis”.

Police at the Coundown store in New Lynn where a terrorist stabbed six people, leaving three in a critial condition.
Ricky Wilson/Stuff
Police at the Coundown store in New Lynn where a terrorist stabbed six people, leaving three in a critial condition.

When police searched his home they found a large hunting knife under a mattress and further “fundamentalist material”. There was also a photograph of the man posing with a firearm and links saved on his computer to where firearms, cross bows and other military equipment could be bought online.

In 2018, he admitted charges of distributing material and the offensive weapon charge was dropped.

He was then charged with possessing further Isis material and the unlawful possession of a knife.

At his sentencing, in July, Justice Sally Fitzgerald sentenced him to 12 months supervision with a number of special conditions imposed.

The Crown’s case at trial were these particular nasheeds – vocal music or chants were “clearly designed” to inspire and celebrate the cause of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).

One of the nasheeds showed a single still image of a figure carrying a machine gun and the Isis flag with the lyrics referencing violent acts, including decapitation and terrorism.

The second nasheed explicitly encouraged terrorist attacks on the countries of other belief systems.

Justice Fitzgerald said the man’s internet activity suggested he had an operative interest in Isis.

A pre-sentence report writer concluded the man supports the goals of Isis and is of a high risk of reoffending and a harm to others.

The risk factors include the man’s extreme attitudes, sense of entitlement and isolated lifestyle, Justice Fitzgerald said.

The man’s special conditions on supervision means he is prohibited from possessing any electronic device capable of accessing the internet, unless approved by his probation officer.

He is also required to surrender his devices and social media for probation and police checks and to undergo a psychological assessment. Stuff understands that assessment never took place.