We have a chance here: Lawyers say teen charged with threat to kill non-Muslims can be saved from extremism

A teenager accused of threatening to kill non-Muslims has been granted name suppression after a lawyer argued the young man had a chance of being deradicalised.

The 19-year-old Auckland man first appeared in the North Shore District Court on September 10, one week after Ahamed Samsudeen embarked on a stabbing frenzy in New Lynn.

The teenager reappeared today. He has not entered any pleas, and his electronic bail application did not proceed today.

But in a name suppression hearing, defence counsel Peter Syddall said the teenager “can’t be held in custody for ever”.

Syddall said publishing the man’s name and details of the alleged offending would damage his rehabilitation prospects.

“[He] is not yet in the same boat as Mr Samsudeen, the LynnMall attacker. We have a chance here and we need to do everything we can to make sure that chance bears fruit.”

Syddall said the teen was held in a cell for 23 hours a day.

“He already feels alone and anti-social.”

Syddall said publishing the man’s name and details of the alleged offending would also greatly harm his client’s fair trial rights.

Police supported name suppression too.

The alleged offending seemed to result from the man’s social isolation in relation to cognitive difficulties, prosecutor David Johnstone said.

“The prospect of being named may [send] him down what he regards as a black hole to which the only exit is violence.”

Police alleged the man’s threat to kill was made between July 13 and September 7. That charge carried a maximum penalty of seven years’ jail.

He also faced two charges of supplying or distributing an objectionable publication on August 5. The maximum penalty for those charges is 14 years’ jail.

Judge Clare Bennett today said she would issue a decision on the man’s name suppression on Tuesday, October 5.

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