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Palm Island riot committal hearing delayed

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 11 April 2005

There has been a delay on the first day of the committal hearing of 23 people charged over last year's riot on Palm Island in north Queensland.

The hearing has been adjourned to allow those charged to view police evidence.

The charges relate to the burning of the island's police station last November and include rioting, arson, serious assault and looting.

The riot was triggered by the release of an autopsy report into a death in custody on the island.

Nine of the 18 men charged are in custody.

The other five people charged are women and children.

Magistrate Wendy Cull told the Townsville Magistrates Court such a large number of defendants would usually be cuffed and shackled.

But she said she had asked for the restraints to be removed because of the cramped conditions.

She also told the two children charged to expect to be bored, as the proceedings could take more than a month.

A total of 160 witnesses will be called.

There is a large police presence and everyone entering the courtroom has been scanned for weapons.

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