‘Men gave teen gun to kill Curtis Cheng’, court hears

As he left a Parramatta mosque on his way to shoot police accountant Curtis Cheng, teenager Farhad Jabar turned to a security camera and raised his index finger in the distinctive Islamic State salute.

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Prosecutors are using CCTV footage of Jabar’s chilling gesture and a bloodstained extremist note in which he’d threatened to turn “your days into hell” as evidence in the case against three men accused of aiding Mr Cheng’s 2015 murder.

Talal Alameddine, 24, Mustafa Dirani, 23, and Milad Atai, 21, faced the first day of a committal hearing in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday.

All three are charged with doing an act in preparation for a terrorist act, while Alameddine and Dirani are charged with supplying the revolver used to shoot Mr Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters.

A fourth man, 19-year-old Raban Alou, has also been charged over the plot but is not involved in the committal proceedings.

Crown prosecutor Paul McGuire SC told the court a bloodstained note found on 15-year-old Jabar’s body was clearly a reference to Mr Cheng’s shooting being “an act designed to cause terror and designed to achieve some religious motivation or end”.

“Know that you are all being watched 24/7, while you are asleep, awake, planning,” the note says in part.

“But soon by the will of God the Exalted, your nights will turn into nightmares, your days into hell.”

Mr McGuire said Islamic State had taken credit for Mr Cheng’s shooting, with its online magazine Dabiq referring to Jabar as “amongst the brave knights” of jihad who “struck the crusaders of Australia and killed one of their personnel”.

He said the accused men had referred to the Dabiq article in conversations on the WhatsApp messaging platform and had also discussed international terror attacks, and cursed Australian Defence Force personnel.

Aerial police surveillance footage was played to the court of Alameddine allegedly meeting Alou and Dirani at a western Sydney park to hand over a firearm just hours before Mr Cheng was shot.

Forty-five minutes before the shooting, Alou can be seen entering the Parramatta mosque, allegedly concealing the .38 calibre Smith & Wesson revolver used to shoot Mr Cheng.

It was at the mosque that Jabar allegedly took possession of the weapon, prosecutors say.

CCTV footage played in court on Monday shows the teenager prayed before he left the mosque on foot wearing dark robes and carrying a backpack, bound for the Parramatta police headquarters where Mr Cheng worked.

Jabar was shot dead by police in an exchange of gunfire shortly after he shot Mr Cheng.

There was a heavy police presence in court for Monday’s hearing and the three accused men sat in a dock behind a clear panel.

Dirani and Atai smiled at three young male supporters who sat in the public gallery. A woman wearing a niqab was also in the public gallery.

The committal hearing continues.