69 counts

from page 1 of The Advocate, July 6, 1996

by Michelle Grima

  An indictiment of 69 criminal charges -- including 34 fresh counts of murder -- were filed against the accused Port Arthur gunman Martin Bryant in the Supreme Court in Hobart yesterday.
  Among the April 28 shootings, Bryant has been charged with the deaths of Nanette Patricia Mikac and her daughters Madeline (3), and Alanna (6), at the roadway from the Port Arthur Historic Site to the toll booth.
  Bryant (29), of Clare St, New Town, had already been charged with murdering Kate Elizabeth Scott (21), of Western Australia, at Port Arthur on April 28.
  From the 70 charges now laid by the Department of Public Prosecution, the accused has also been charged with 19 counts of attempted murder.
  The additional charges also include five counts of aggravated assault, seven counts of wounding, two counts of causing grevious bodily harm, one count of arson and one of unlawfully setting fire to property.
  Bryant has not entered a plea to any of the charges.
  The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Damian Bugg, QC, yesterday filed the indictment containing the charges to the court just before midday.
  Mr Bugg will now apply for a sitting next week before Mr Justice Peter Underwood where he will lodge an application to have Bryant remanded in custody on the additional charges.
  Like the previous remand hearing in the Supreme Court on June 14, Bryant will not appear before the court in person and there will be no video link.
  Mr Bugg said Bryant's senior defence counsel, Mr David Gunson, had indicated that his client would, as previously, consent to the matter being processed in this way.
  The accused will appear before the court on September 9, the date fixed at his last remand appearance in the court one one murder charge.
  Although a date for trail has not been set, Mr Bugg said the DPP would push for an early trial.
  If State Parliament had not amended the Criminal Code (Indictments) Bill 1996, last week no indictment for murder could have constained a charge of another crime.
  The amendment to the criminal code will streamline criminal trial procedures where a person is charged with other crimes in addition to murder.
  "Every effort will be made by my office to obtain an early trial in this matter, but the rate of progess towards a trial will be governed by the time taken to collate and provide all relevant information to the defence, the resolution of any pre-trial issues and the availability of witnesses," Mr Bugg said.
  "After discussions with police yesterday I was satisfied that the investigation had progessed to a stage where I could file the indictment.
  "I anticipate that all material gathered during the investigation will now be processed and all relevant material presented to the defence.
  "Victims and families of victims will be kept informed of the progess of this matter."
  Police so far have obtained 551 statements from witnesses in their investigations into all the deaths and woundings from the Port Arthur incident.
  Since Bryant was taken into custody, he was charged on April 30 during a bedside hearding at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and on May 22 when he appeared via a video link from Risdon Prison to the Magistrate's Court.
  In an unusual move in legal proceedings last month an ex-officio indictment against Bryant for the one charge of murder was approved by the Supreme Court, meaning the accused would not have to appear again in the Magistrate's Court.
  Had the DPP not filed the indictment, Bryant would have been required to appear before a magistrate at least once every 28 days as required by law for remand.
  Mr Bugg said further information relevant to the court process would be provided next week.

[image: Map of Port Arthur Historic Site, marking out where various offences were committed. (20x20) ]

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