Tougher knife laws on radar after Sydney stabbings

PM on church terror attack
Source: X/Anthony Albanese


A tougher stance on knife laws in NSW could be on the way as Sydney reels from three violent stabbing incidents in almost as many days.

Premier Chris Minns said he was open to strengthening the state’s knife laws and noted the violence had left the state’s capital in a “combustible situation”.

A stabbing attack at a western Sydney church that hospitalised two clergymen on Monday is being treated as a terrorist act, with the teenager allegedly responsible having a history of knife-related crime.

Minns confirmed the teenager was found with a knife at school in 2020 and was placed on a good behaviour bond over a knife crime three months ago.

The attack led to violence on the street near the Assyrian church, where hundreds of people gathered and scores of police tried to disperse the crowd. Officers were injured and vehicles were damaged.

The church attack followed a stabbing rampage by 40-year-old Joel Cauchi at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.

Cauchi was shot dead by a police inspector after killing Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Yixuan Cheng, 27, and 30-year-old Faraz Tahir, while Ashlee Good, 38, later died in hospital.

Cauchi also had a history of inappropriate possession of knives.

It has also emerged there was another fatal stabbing attack in Sydney last Friday. The incident, near a school in Doonside in Sydney’s west, left an 18-year-old dead and a 19-year-old wounded.

A 16-year-old boy has since been charged with murder. Police confirmed on Wednesday that two other teenagers, aged 15 and 16, had also been charged.

Each has been charged with murder and cause wounding/grievous bodily harm to person with intent to murder. All will appear in a children’s court on Wednesday.

Outside Christ The Good Shepherd Church after Monday's stabbing

Source: AAP

“It’s a combustible situation and I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” Minns told Sydney radio 2GB on Tuesday.

“We increased knife laws about six months ago, after the terrible death of Steven Tougher, the NSW paramedic, but I’m not prepared to rule anything out right now.

“Obviously, when people are being killed, and you’ve got a situation where a knife is being used, then it would be irresponsible not to look at it.”

Tougher was fatally stabbed outside a McDonald’s in south-west Sydney when he and a workmate took a break towards the end of a night shift. The lawyer for the man charged with his murder says his client has mental health issues.

Footage of part of Monday’s attack at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley spread online as the church livestreamed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel’s sermon.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has told social media platforms X and Meta that “we expect them to remove this expeditiously within the next 24 hours”.

The NSW government recently doubled the maximum penalties for possessing or wielding a knife in a public place.

Under legislation introduced to parliament in June 2023, the Crimes Act was amended to include the offences of having a knife in a public place or school and wielding a knife in a public place or school.

The maximum jail term for those offences increased from two to four years’ jail, while the maximum fine for possessing a knife increased from $2200 to $4400, and for wielding a knife to $11,000.

-with AAP

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