A 40-year-old Sydney man has been arrested and charged after “threatening to kill and inflict bodily harm on unknown persons” at Sydney’s New Year’s Eve festivities.
Officers from the NSW Police Force Terrorism Investigation Squad arrested Damien James O’Neil at Sydney’s international airport on Thursday after receiving a tip-off from the public.
The man arrived in the country on a plane from London, was taken to Mascot Police Station and was scheduled to appear in Parramatta Local Court on Friday.
He did not appear in person or via video link, but court papers indicated O’Neil sent a document to a LiveJournal blog, in which he threatened to kill and inflict harm during New Year’s Eve activities.
Legal Aid lawyer Shaun Mortimer told the magistrate there was no application for release at this time.
The case was adjourned until January 10, when O’Neil is expected to make a bid for bail.
In an earlier statement Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations, Catherine Burn, said that police took all threats seriously and investigations so far indicated the matter was an isolated incident.
“As a consequence, we are confident that there are no current or specific threats to New Year’s Eve and, while we ask people to remain vigilant, people should enjoy the celebrations,” she said.
The community should be also reassured that we will take swift action to ensure the ongoing safety of the public.”
Earlier a search warrant was executed at a home in Chippendale as well as a storage facility, where items including documents and hard drives were seized.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Frank Mennilli said the man did not have links to any cultural groups.
He has been charged with a crimes act offence, not a terrorist offence.
“The matter is still under investigation and there may be some further charges, but I can certainly assure everyone there is no current threat from that individual or any other person.”
City of Sydney councillor Jess Scully said there would be a strong police presence during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
“I think it’s always really difficult these days when you have large public gatherings and security is something that is top of mind,” she said.
“I know it’s something that we’re working really closely with the New South Wales Police.”
Last week, Victorian police foiled an alleged terrorist plot to detonate explosive devices around Melbourne, possibly on Christmas Day.