A MAN who described himself as a “black Muslim” has been refused bail after appearing in court today charged with intimidation and driving in a dangerous manner after he allegedly yelled bias-related threats at a family picnicking at Bulli Tops on Sunday.
Police were called to Bulli Lookout on the Princes Highway after reports Yusuff Sharriff, 43, allegedly intimidated and verbally abused a family group of about 20 people picnicking on Sunday afternoon.
Police were told Sharriff got into his car and drove circles around the group, which included young children, before driving off.
Witnesses reported the man had allegedly made anti-Islamic threats throughout the incident.
Wollongong Police arrived at the location, the man returned, and was driving around the car park when he was stopped and arrested. During a search of the man’s vehicle, police found and seized a hammer and a boxcutter.
Sharrif was taken to Wollongong Police Station where he was charged with intimidation and driving dangerously. He was refused bail in Wollongong Local Court today (Monday) after his brief appearance via video link from the police cells.
Magistrate Michael Stoddart said the allegations were “disturbing” and described the alleged incident as an “atrocious attack” that police claim was partly filmed on a go-pro by an onlooker.
During his appearance in court Sharriff referred to himself as a “black Muslim” and accused Legal Aid of discriminating against him and not representing him properly. He urged Magistrate Michael Stoddart stop the case progressing until he could find a new lawyer and said he had been the subject of abuse in the past.
Sharriff will reappear at Wollongong Local Court again on April 23, and has been referred to the Fixated Persons Unit for assessment.
The Fixated Persons Investigations Unit was set up by NSW Police to focus on so-called “lone actor” and “fixated person” threats and grievance-fuelled violence.
Wollongong Police District Commander, Superintendent Chris Craner said police do not tolerate any behaviour that disturbs peace in the community.
“There is no place for any type of intimidation, abuse, or violence in NSW and I encourage the community to contact us to ensure every instance can be investigated,” Supt Craner said.
“The safety of the community is our priority, and the NSW Police Force continues to work closely with all community groups to make sure not only are they safe – they feel safe.”
Supt Craner urged anyone who witnessed the incident and has not yet spoken to police to come forward.
“Our investigation is continuing, and given yesterday’s weather, we know the lookout was busy, so we’d like to speak with anyone who may have been in the area at the time.
“In particular, we’d been keen to speak with anyone who has dashcam or mobile phone vision. Information can even be provided confidentially through Crime Stoppers,” Supt Craner said.