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article imageRocks hurled at Sydney siege cafe

By AFP     Jun 3, 2015 in World

A former professional basketball player was Wednesday charged with malicious damage after rocks were thrown through five windows of the Sydney cafe at the centre of a deadly siege.

Witnesses alerted police when they saw a man loitering near the upmarket Lindt cafe in the city's financial heart at the time of the alleged attack in the early hours.

Luke Martin, widely reported to be a former National Basketball League player with the Sydney Kings, was subsequently arrested and denied bail after appearing in court on multiple charges.

Police allege that Martin threw rocks at the cafe, was involved in a police pursuit and broke the jaw of an officer trying to arrest him.

A passer-by inspects holes in the window of the Lindt Cafe after rocks were thrown through five of i...
A passer-by inspects holes in the window of the Lindt Cafe after rocks were thrown through five of its windows in Sydney on June 3, 2015
William West, AFP

His car was stopped in the area after it was spotted being driven on the wrong side of the road. He allegedly resisted arrest and assaulted the officer.

The incident coincided with an inquest into the siege underway nearby.

Iranian-born Man Haron Monis, a self-styled cleric, took more than a dozen customers and staff hostage at the cafe on December 15.

The Sydney cafe at the centre of a deadly siege last December has been vandalised with rocks thrown ...
The Sydney cafe at the centre of a deadly siege last December has been vandalised with rocks thrown through five of its windows on June 3, 2015
William West, AFP

The 17-hour standoff ended with the deaths of two hostages and the gunman in an ordeal that sparked fears about national security and caused an outpouring of grief.

The inquest, which started last week, is probing Monis' motivations, including whether he was a "lone wolf" carrying out an Islamic State-inspired terrorist act or a deranged individual.

The inquest is set to continue throughout the year with an outcome not expected until 2016.

The cafe was badly damaged during the standoff and only reopened in March with two gold plaques erected at the entrance in honour of the victims -- manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson.

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