Aussie charged with terror plot’s ‘hero’: court

Daily Telegraph
A NSW South Coast man who was allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Australia had described the Christchurch massacre shooter as a “hero” online, a court has heard. Picture: NSW Police

Warning: Disturbing content.

A NSW South Coast man who described the Christchurch massacre shooter as a “hero” was allegedly planning a terrorist attack on home soil, a court has heard.

Joshua Lucas, 25, is standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court at Parramatta where he is battling allegations he was researching targets, bombs and weapons and planning for a terrorist event.

He was arrested during a raid on his Sanctuary Point home, near Jervis Bay, on the NSW South Coast in March 2020 and has pleaded not guilty to doing acts in preparation for or planning a terrorist act.

The Crown prosecution has alleged he was motivated by white supremacist, anti-immigration and far right wing ideology.

The court heard on Wednesday that in online forums he had expressed support for Brenton Tarrant, the Australian-born terrorist who killed 51 people during the Christchurch attacks in 2019.

He had posted copies of the terrorist’s manifesto as well as footage of the attacks online.

He on one occasion posted on social media platform Telegram “hell yeah race war now” in response to news stories reporting ISIS had called for revenge attacks for the Christchurch shooting, the court was told.

The court heard he also described Tarrant as an “Australian hero” and “freedom fighter” and had spray-painted a car with far right slogans and “I heart Brenton”.

Daily Telegraph
Joshua Lucas was arrested at his Sanctuary Point home. Picture: NSW Police.

Crown prosecutor Robert Ranken told the jury during his opening address that Mr Lucas had allegedly scouted and carried out reconnaissance on potential targets including defence force facilities and places of religious worship.

The Crown has further alleged Mr Lucas had conducted internet searches and captured screenshots of mosques and synagogues in the Wollongong and South Coast region.

“The crown alleges the screenshot images were a part of research for potential targets for a terrorist act,” Mr Ranken told the court on Wednesday.

Joshua Lucas is standing trial in the Supreme Court at Parramatta.
Joshua Lucas is standing trial in the Supreme Court at Parramatta.

He also conducted reconnaissance at the HMAS Albatross navy station at Nowra and the West Tomerong electrical substation, according to the prosecution.

The prosecution has also alleged that he exploded several crude improvised explosive devices, made out of sparklers taped together, and had researched recipes for explosives and their precursor materials.

He posted in one Telegram chat that he was going to make the Oklahoma City bombing look like “child’s play”, the court was told.

As well, he asked a friend to acquire a gun licence so he could obtain ammunition, the prosecution says.

He also bought military-style clothing and a so-called “Boogaloo” survival kit.

“Boogaloo” is a term used by far right extremists for civil war.

“The accused took steps to acquire military-style clothing and items for use in the violent collapse of society,” Mr Ranken said.

The trial will continue on Tuesday with the opening address from Mr Lucas’ defence.