Surveillance man in Curtis Cheng murder found guilty of planning terrorist attack

Updated March 14, 2019 17:43:44

The man who acted as a lookout and support person for the mastermind behind the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng has been found guilty of conspiring with three others to plan and prepare a terrorist act.

Key points:

  • Mustafa Dirani had pleaded not guilty to acting as the “survellience man” in the October 2015 murder
  • Mr Cheng’s widow Selina broke down after hearing the jury’s decision
  • Mr Cheng was a 17-year veteran of the NSW police force’s finance department

Mustafa Dirani had pleaded not guilty to planning and preparing a terrorist act and an alternative charge of supplying a firearm to an unauthorised person, but the jury delivered its verdict after almost three days of deliberations.

Mr Cheng was shot dead outside Parramatta Police headquarters by 15-year-old schoolboy Farhad Mohammad in October 2015.

Dirani helped Raban Alou, the mastermind of the attack, and acted as a counter-surveillance man on October 2 — the day of the murder — while Alou attempted to buy a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver later used to kill Mr Cheng.

Mr Cheng’s widow Selina Cheng broke down in the court after hearing the jury’s decision.

Speaking outside court, Ms Cheng said although she and her family were relieved with the guilty verdict, “nothing will bring Curtis back”.

“I would like to thank all the people who have worked so hard to give us this justice today,” she said.

“Today is not a reason to celebrate at all, it is just an end to the court process. Nothing will bring Curtis back.”

The Crown had argued that Dirani gave “emotional, religious and ideological support” to Alou in the lead-up to the meetings to obtain the gun used in the murder.

Dirani’s lawyer Mark Tedeschi QC argued there was no evidence Dirani had taken part in any of the early preparations for the attack or had ever spoken to Farhad.

Mr Tedeschi argued that Alou and Dirani had arranged to have lunch and Dirani was just following him on the way to McDonalds.

Farhad, who fired several more shots at officers as they emerged from the building to respond to the incident, was shot dead by a special constable outside the police headquarters after he murdered Mr Cheng.

Earlier in the trial, the court heard that after the schoolboy was shot dead, police found a note inside the pocket of his robes that said he had come “to put terror into your hearts”.

Mr Cheng was a 17-year veteran of the police force’s finance department.

After the seven week trial, Justice Peter Johnson exempted all members of the jury from serving in court for the next eight years.

Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, sydney-2000, nsw

First posted March 14, 2019 14:44:56

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