Morning Mail: alleged church stabbing sparks clash with police, Lehrmann judgment fallout, Trump trial begins

<span>A prominent Christian leader was allegedly stabbed at the altar at Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley, Sydney.</span><span>Photograph: Christ the Good Shepherd Church/Facebook</span>
A prominent Christian leader was allegedly stabbed at the altar at Christ the Good Shepherd church in Wakeley, Sydney.Photograph: Christ the Good Shepherd Church/Facebook

Morning everyone. An Orthodox Christian bishop has allegedly been stabbed while giving mass at his church in western Sydney, and there were clashes between angry locals and police guarding a 15-year-old suspect held after the incident. Riot police were called in to disperse the crowd and the New South Wales premier has called for calm. We have a full report, plus news, analysis and a podcast on the dramatic conclusion of Bruce Lehrmann’s failed defamation case. And Donald Trump’s hush-money trial has begun.


  • Church attack | Hundreds of people clashed with police in western Sydney last night after a prominent Orthodox Christian leader was allegedly stabbed at the altar of his church. Three others were also injured in the incident at the Assyrian church in Wakeley. Police arrested a teenager at the scene and a large crowd gathered outside the church, clashing with police (pictured).

  • ‘True story’ | Lisa Wilkinson has claimed vindication for a “true story” about a rape after Bruce Lehrmann’s libel accusations against her and Channel Ten were dismissed at the federal court in Sydney. See below for more on the judgment.

  • Bondi stabbings | NSW police are investigating if Bondi Junction killer Joel Cauchi deliberately targeted women and children as a coronial inquiry into the stabbings was launched, while people travelled far and wide to show their respect at the scene.

  • Coral damage | Global heating has pushed the world’s coral reefs to a fourth planet-wide mass bleaching event that is on track to be the most extensive on record, US government scientists have confirmed. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef endured its most widespread heat stress event on record this year.

  • Music crisis | Live music industry operators have called for Australian governments to pause funding for the festival sector in the aftermath of the cancellation of events such as Splendour in the Grass.


Full Story

The Bruce Lehrmann defamation trial verdict

After sitting through weeks of courtroom drama, Amanda Meade tells Nour Haydar how Justice Michael Lee reached his verdict that, on the balance of probabilities, Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins.


With the forensic style of a criminal trial, Justice Michael Lee unstitched Bruce Lehrmann’s lies in his defamation case against Channel Ten. Richard Ackland salutes “a remarkable judgment” that represents one of very few where the media has successfully defended a defamation action in the federal court. We also have an analysis of the judge’s comments about the key players, a roundup of his best zingers, and a read on how the saga played out.

Not the news

The author Salman Rushdie has released a new memoir about the near fatal knife attack he suffered two years ago in upstate New York which cost him the use of his right eye. Knife reveals how he is still plagued by premonitions and PTSD nightmares, but feels he could be protected by a “greater force”. Here are 10 things we learned from his book.

The world of sport

  • Basketball | Houston Rockets star Boban Marjanović (51) has intentionally missed a free-throw late in an NBA game against the Clippers to ensure the home crowd would receive free chicken sandwiches as part of a Chick-fil-A promotion.

  • Cricket | Derek Underwood, the most prolific spin bowler in England’s Test history with 297 wickets and Kerry Packer World Series rebel, has died at the age of 78.

  • Premier League | Chelsea added to Everton’s problems by beating them this morning, helped by a 17-minute hat-trick from Cole Palmer.

Media roundup

All main sites lead with the Lehrmann verdict with the Canberra Times concluding that we need to do a “better job” bringing up the next generation of men. The Australian calls it a “hollow victory” for Ten which could not vindicate the “trial by media”. The parents of Bondi Junction killer Joel Cauchi say he “lost touch with reality” and was “frustrated out of his brain”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. In Tasmania, an environmental group will return to court tomorrow in a final bid to stop the logging of native forests near the Derby mountain biking trails, the Mercury reports.

What’s happening today

  • Canberra | Supermarket bosses will appear at the Senate inquiry.

  • Victoria | A state funeral will be held for youth worker Les Twentyman OAM at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

  • Culture | There will be a public hearing into national cultural policy focusing on music festivals.

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Brain teaser

And finally, here are the Guardian’s crosswords to keep you entertained throughout the day. Until tomorrow.