A year after ‘terror’ plot, teen is getting educated

A teenager who once plotted an ISIS-style terrorist attack in Christchurch has now clocked up his first 12 NCEA credits.

The 19-year-old has been studying while doing two years of supervision in monitored accommodation, and his progress was reported to the sentencing Judge Stephen O’Driscoll at one of his regular monitoring sessions at the Christchurch District Court today.

The judge has been seeing him monthly to check on the youth since he was sentenced in February. His name is suppressed to help with his rehabilitation.

Each month, the teenager has written a report for the judge and read it out in court. These have described progress with his counselling during mosque visits, his first game of golf, and household activities.

He did not read out his report today, but Judge O’Driscoll read it and said he was pleased with it. “I want you to continue making the progress you are making,” he said.

“The highlight of this month is that you have achieved your first ever NCEA credits. You are incredibly proud of that achievement, and rightly so. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see you ending up getting your NCEA and having a qualification that can be with you for the rest of your life.”

The youth said he had gained 12 credits. Judge O’Driscoll said he needed to get 80 credits to get his NCEA level 1.

Probation, which is also monitoring the supervision sentence, reported that a departmental psychologist found the youth was increasingly engaging and was “showing more balance in his thinking in general”.

The teenager was showing “adult maturity” in new accommodation shared with a resident who had his own difficulties, probation said.

Last year, the youth had been radicalised online and planned a terrorist attack “for Allah”. He planned to ram a car into a group of people and then stab them until the police killed him. He went through with a threatening and violent incident but “decided not to hurt anybody because he did not have the means to kill enough people”, the Crown reported when he pleaded guilty.

Judge O’Driscoll will see him for another monitoring session on September 14.

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