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Alleged Canberra airport shooter’s bizarre request in court

A judge has unequivocally rejected a request to ban the ABC from a court hearing of a man accused of firing shots at Canberra Airport.

Ali Rachid Ammoun, 63, made the unusual request that his legal aid representative ask the ACT Magistrates’ Court to exclude the public broadcaster from reporting on the case.

Both the judge and the prosecution refused the motion out of hand, insisting that the ABC had every right to report on proceedings.

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Camera IconAli Ammoun is apprehended by police after allegedly firing five shots inside Canberra airport. Walter Olson / Facebook Credit: Supplied

“This is an open court and the ABC has a right to report on such matters,” magistrate Robert Cook told the courtroom.

The NSW man did not apply for bail or enter a plea when he appeared via video link in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday.

Wearing a white button-down shirt with green palm trees on it, Ammoun appeared calm as he told the Magistrates court he understood the charges against him.

He will remain in custody until the case returns to court on September 5.

According to the accused’s social media presence, he lives in Sydney and has been working as a gym instructor.

Camera IconPolice inspect the shattered glass panes allegedly hit by bullets on Sunday afternoon. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia
Camera IconPolice say they will oppose bail when the man appears in court on Monday morning. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

Pictured with boxing gloves and sunglasses, Ammoun’s page links to a YouTube channel which boasts seven subscribers but no videos.

Ammoun is facing three firearms charges after he allegedly fired a revolver into the airport’s window panes on Sunday.

It’s alleged he arrived at the airport sometime after 1:20pm and after a short period of time in the departures area, fired five bullets into the glass windows near the check-in counters.

Police say the 63-year-old was acting alone.

No one was injured during the alleged attack, but the airport was evacuated and flights did not resume for a number of hours afterwards.

Canberra Airport chief Stephen Byron praised the response from federal police and airport staff on duty.

“We had our team both on-site and others coming into play straight away,“ he said.

“The AFP has trained for these sorts of situations, where you have an armed intruder in an airport environment, and they have teams that are in place and they responded and indeed engaged immediately.

“In this case, the offender was calm and submitted to their arrest.”

Counselling will be provided for members of the public who may have witnessed the incident.

A review of how the shooting incident was handled is underway, but Mr Byron told reporters there was no need for a wider review into security at the airport.

“There’s nothing glaring at all, but that’ll be a matter for the Australian government and the Australian Federal Police to assess in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

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