Murder charge fuels web war
WITHIN minutes of accused murderer Allyn John Slater’s name being revealed by news websites around the country, the hate campaign was launched.
Almost immediately, users of social networking site Facebook ripped a photograph from Slater’s profile page and began forming campaign groups.
By last night there were about 7000 people across eight separate groups.
The mounting frenzy followed the 19-year-old Bundaberg teenager’s appearance in the city’s magistrates court yesterday morning.
Slater was charged with the murder of eight-year-old Trinity Bates, whose body was found in a stormwater drain about 50m from her Walker Street home early Monday morning.
He sat with his head bowed and occasionally glanced around as his case proceeded.
Slater’s defence lawyer, Thomas Bray, asked for the matter to be heard in a closed court.
Magistrate Jennifer Batts closed the court for about five minutes, but the application was denied and the substantial media contingent was let back in again.
Ms Batts said she could not hear a bail application.
“There is no jurisdiction in this court to grant the defendant bail,” she said.
Slater was remanded in custody until May 17, to allow the police more time to prepare forensic evidence.
North Coast regional crime co-ordinator Detective Superintendent Maurice Carless said he understood the strength of people’s feelings in the wake of Trinity’s alleged murder.
“But... I think it’s prudent to let the course of justice take its course,” he said.
Outside the courthouse, strangers and family friends milled around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the accused killer’s face.
About 12 police officers patrolled the area outside the court and stood guard in the foyer of the building.
A small group hurled abuse as Slater arrived and left the courthouse.
He was later transported to a Brisbane correctional centre by plainclothes police officers for his own safety.
The convoy included a police paddy wagon with unmarked Prado four-wheel drives front and back.
It stopped in Gympie and one of the vehicles was said to have sped up with tyres squealing as it spotted waiting photographers and pulled into the back of the town’s police station.