Australia

'Remorse bulls**t': Accused withdraws apology to widow of murdered Curtis Cheng

Milad Atai says an earlier expression of remorse is "bulls**t". Source: Facebook

An Islamic State member convicted of aiding in the 2015 shooting of Curtis Cheng has retracted an apology he made to the victim's widow, a court has heard.

A man convicted over the terrorist killing of NSW Police accountant Curtis Cheng has recanted his apology to the victim's widow because he "slipped up" and actually isn't remorseful, a court has heard.

Milad Atai, who was convicted for aiding the boy behind the 2015 shooting in Parramatta, apologised during a sentencing hearing for the hurt he put Selina Cheng and her family through.

But on Thursday, the NSW Supreme Court was told he had since written letters to federal police and a crown prosecutor saying those apologies made in September weren't truthful.

"I take back what I said in the box because I was in the heat of moment and I just slipped up," the letter to federal police said.

"If use (sic) can please let the judge know about this letter and I want him to know where I stand with this remorse bulls**t.

"Remember this I have sold my life for a cheap price and that is the next life because this world is only temporary and the hereafter is eternal.

Curtis Cheng's son Alpha Cheng (right), and widow Selina Cheng (centre) leaving court.
Curtis Cheng's son Alpha Cheng (right), and widow Selina Cheng (centre) leaving court.

"I ask Allah to grant victory to the believers and to destroy those who oppress his slaves."

Justice Peter Johnson said Atai had told the previous hearing: "I am sorry for what I did and what I put her through...I take responsibility for my actions".

Justice Johnson said the letters didn't just deal with remorse but suggested the 22-year-old was not sorry for the offence and hadn't begun the path to rehabilitation or deradicalistion.

"He seems to have shut the door to the path," he said.

He asked Atai's solicitor whether Atai was saying he is still dangerous and maintains "radical, Salafist, murderous views".

"With due respect I think you're reading too much into that," solicitor Greg Smith replied.

Mr Smith said the letters weren't made under oath, as Atai's apology had been, and were written after a period in which he'd been isolated from family and his counsel in a maximum security prison.

The practising Muslim had also since told a prison psychologist that while he maintained his belief system, he "had felt for Ms Cheng as any one would", the court heard.

Mr Smith said the act of taking the stand at sentencing and then clarifying those remarks should be considered.

"It takes a courageous person, and is certainly not characteristic of most people who come before the court, to be frank and honest to the court."

Prosecutor Paul Maguire said the views expressed in Atai's letters showed he was still radicalised.

"He hasn't even taken the first step on the path to rehabilitation," he said.

"(Even) if he has taken the first step at all, it's a tentative step."

Atai will be sentenced on November 23.

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