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Mentor of alleged Islamic State member insists he tried to ‘steer him in the right direction’

Natalie Peters & Erin Molan

A former cop and mentor of a young Sydney man, who police allege was planning a terror plot, insists he was placed in a well-meaning support program.

The 20-year-old has been charged with intending to carry out a terrorist attack on Australian soil.

Authorities will allege the man was planning attacks on police stations, embassies, courts and churches – an offence which carries a maximum sentence of life in jail.

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team has been monitoring Isaak el Matari for the last 12 months after he returned from Lebanon.

The Daily Telegraph reports he was placed in a deradicalisation program by authorities before he went on to allegedly plan a terrorist attack.

But one of his mentors, criminologist and former cop Michael Kennedy tells Natalie Peters and Erin Molan that the NSW Police placed him in a support program when he returned from Lebanon.

“The decision was made to try and offer him some support to redirect what he was doing and make him fully informed.

“In the meantime, the Federal Police would decide what they were going to do with him.

“At the end of the day, he can’t say that an effort wasn’t made to steer him in the right direction.

“I met him on weekends just to have a coffee, he’d ask advice on things and I’d give him some information.”

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Natalie Peters & Erin Molan