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Former journalist wanted to ‘lure’ and kill Christians in reprisal for Christchurch massacre, court hears


A former Canberra-based reporter wanted to “lure” Christians to his house and fight them as part of a reprisal for the Christchurch massacre, a court has heard.

Key points:

  • Mr Waugh had acquired a weapon, and conducted internet searches
  • He told a doctor while in custody that Australian laws do not apply to him
  • A mental health assessment found no illness to explain his behaviour

James Michael Waugh, 28, was arrested earlier this month and charged with threatening to act with intent to cause public harm, using a carriage service to menace others and possessing a weapon to be used to kill.

A selfie of a man wearing glasses and looking serious.


The former Queanbeyan Age journalist applied for bail in the ACT Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning, and was refused.

During the application, prosecutor Rae-ann Khazma told the court more information had come to light since Mr Waugh’s arrest.

Ms Khazma said Mr Waugh had spoken to a doctor, while in custody, and told them of his intention of “luring in potential victims to his house” as reprisal for the massacres in Christchurch.

“He made it clear he would either engage in battle … making him a martyr or to make them look bad,” she said.

“He also indicated his use of a scimitar [Middle-Eastern curved sword] depending on how many Christians turned up and whether they were armed.”

She said Mr Waugh had no mental health illness to explain his behaviour, and that he had told a doctor that he did not recognise the Australian Government and that Australian laws did not apply to him.


A post on the Canberra House of Prayer Facebook page that reads: I'm going to kill every single one of you dog polytheist c****.

Ms Khazma said Mr Waugh intended to leave the ACT to prepare for the “day of judgement” by going to remote central Queensland with his brother.

She said examination of his computer showed previous searches for areas in Queensland and central Australia.

Ms Khazma said that, based on this information, he could not be trusted to be given bail and meet his conditions to stay within the ACT.

A Facebook comment by James Waugh reading: I will cut your dog head off.

But Mr Waugh’s lawyer Helen Hayunga said he should be granted bail, as there was no evidence that he would act on his threats.

“It is one thing to espouse bizarre or intemperate views and another to act upon them,” she said.

“The difficulty for the prosecution … is that there is no evidence he was going to act [on his threats].”

“Beyond the acquisition of the weapon,” Magistrate Peter Morrison interjected.

Ms Hayunga said there was no evidence he was in contact with criminals, no evidence he had lured someone to his house, and police had seized his phone and computer.

“He will have, necessarily, more limited access to the internet [if released],” she said.

Mr Waugh was remanded in custody until his next court date later this month.