Twice-arrested church rioter swings and spits at media

Belad Al-karkhey |

Issa Haddad gestured to waiting camera crews outside court.
Issa Haddad gestured to waiting camera crews outside court.

A man who took part in a violent uproar outside a western Sydney church was flailing his arms and cursing at journalists when police took him away once more.

Issa Haddad gestured towards and spat at waiting camera crew after stepping from Fairfield Local Court on Wednesday.

Having participated in the April 15 riot and been identified in video footage via his distinctive tattoos, the 28-year-old had just admitted as much and his case had been adjourned for sentencing.

He pleaded guilty to threatening violence to cause fear during the disturbance, outside Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley.

Haddad covered his face with a black hoodie as he left court, before tripping over uneven paving and toppling onto the ground.

Yelling at reporters to leave him alone, he told a police officer who tried to help him up to “f*** off”.

A woman who was in court to support Haddad was also pushed away as he told her to leave him alone.

He then turned towards one journalist and swung his arms in the man’s direction, missing as the reporter dodged.

He also spat in the direction of a photographer before he was arrested and taken to Fairfield police station.

Police later charged him with use recording device in court premises and common assault.

He was refused bail to appear before Fairfield Local Court on Thursday.

The admitted rioter was earlier granted conditional bail, which had been opposed by police, to attend court proceedings.

Officers involved in the case believed granting him liberty would provide Haddad further opportunity to take part in similar events, court papers reveal.

He was previously diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, according to the documents, and is unemployed.

On the night of the Wakeley attack, Haddad was joined by a number of people when he threatened unlawful actions towards a minor.

The riot, which involved some 2000 people, followed the stabbing of Assyrian bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and priest Isaac Royel during a live-streamed service.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with a terrorism offence over the stabbing, which police allege was religiously motivated.

Following the attack, a crowd swelled outside the church as members of the congregation pinned down the attacker inside.

Haddad had screamed outside the church for the attacker to be brought out, and said that an “eye for an eye” was necessary.

An unknown man attempted to calm Haddad, telling him to go away.

Dozens of police were injured, their cars vandalised and some officers and paramedics were forced to shelter inside the place of worship before the 16-year-old could be safely taken away.

At least 14 people have been charged over their alleged roles in the riot and police have issued images of nine other suspects.

Haddad’s mother watched on as he was arrested at his home on April 20.

Arrangements for a support worker were made by police due to his disabilities.

He will be sentenced over the Wakeley matter on June 19.

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