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Barrister protests security checks at Palm Is hearings

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 12 April 2005

A north Queensland barrister has objected to security checks for legal representatives at the committal hearing into last year's riot on Palm Island.

The proceedings are being held amid tight security in the Supreme Court in Townsville.

Up to 10 armed police have been stationed in the court and everyone entering has been scanned for weapons.

Barrister Mark Donnelly told Magistrate Wendy Cull he was offended by the screening and asked for legal representatives to be excused.

Twenty-three people, including three women and two children, are facing a range of charges including rioting, arson, looting and assault.

They relate to the unrest on the island in November, sparked by the release of an autopsy report into a local death in custody.

Police are expected to give evidence when the hearing resumes this morning, including Townsville police inspector Brian Richardson.

Magistrate Wendy Cull told the accused yesterday that if they failed to attend any of the sessions, their matters would be thrown out and they would have to start the procedure again from scratch.

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