Teen accused of bomb threat named

A teenager who allegedly claimed explosives were hidden in government buildings has lost his bid for name suppression, despite his lawyer's plea that publication could potentially mark the young Muslim as having links to international terrorism.

Ifraaz Joseph, 18, pleaded not guilty to one charge of threatening to harm people or property when he appeared in Manukau District Court this morning.

Defence lawyer Giles Harvey applied for interim suppression to be continued, arguing that his client's Muslim background combined with what was being alleged could create a public backlash and put him and his family at risk.

There was the potential people could wrongly perceive links with international terrorism, he said.

Mr Harvey also argued that Joseph's name was very similar to other male members of his family and publication could wrongly implicate them in the alleged crime.

Furthermore, "publication of his name might cause public stigma against the defendant regardless of whether he is acquitted or not''.

Judge Heather Simpson said she took into account Joseph's young age: "he's still at school and he should be protected, to some extent, from the foolishness of his own actions."

However, she decided the seriousness of the charge, and the genuine public interest "in matters of this kind", outweighed the potential harm publication could have on Joseph and his family.

She ordered that the defendant be referred to by his middle name, Ifraaz, to avoid possible confusion with other family members.

Mr Harvey also asked for a variation of Joseph's bail conditions to allow him limited access to the internet to enable him to finish school assignments.

Judge Simpson postponed hearing this application until October 19 when further written material could be made available.

There will also be a case review hearing on November 22.

Joseph allegedly intended to cause significant disruption to the Government by suggesting there would be explosions in municipal buildings, court documents show.

The video, which was posted onto YouTube on September 6, also said Government and media websites would be hacked.

The threats were allegedly part of a protest against the new Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act that came into effect earlier this month, police said.

Acting Detective Inspector Pete Jones of the Counties Manukau CIB said after the arrest that police took such threats very seriously.

Multiple areas of the police force worked together closely on the investigation, he said.

"Counties Manukau CIB and Wellington District were able to draw on the expertise of the National Cyber Crime Centre (NC3) and the Electronic Crime Laboratory to help us locate this individual.''

He said the investigation showed police could trace individuals who made serious threats on the internet.

 

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