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Committal hearing into murder of Alice Spring -

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ELEANOR HALL: When the body of a 33-year-old Aboriginal man was discovered near the dry Todd River
in Alice Springs in July, it sparked a week-long search for a group of men who were seen arguing
with him.

It also raised fears of a flare up in race related violence in the town.

Five young men have now have been charged with the man's murder and are facing committal
proceedings in the Alice Springs Magistrates Court today.

The ABC's Kirsty Nancarrow is at the Magistrates Court and joins us now.

So Kirsty take us through the events of July and how they fuelled fears about race relations in the

KIRSTY NANCARROW: Well, Eleanor this case happened on the 25th of July this year in Alice Springs.
It happened near the dry Todd River which runs through the town and we've heard that five men were
in a white utility and they had been seen arguing with the deceased man Kwementyaye Ryder.

Prior to his death his body was found on Schwarz Crescent near the RSL club soon after the incident
and it took a week for police to actually find the five accused. There was a massive call for
witnesses to come forward with descriptions of the utility.

And certainly in that intervening period there were concerns about whether this might be a racially
motivated incident and police at the time where at pains to say that this certainly wasn't and that
they would find those responsible.

So we are not finding that we are at the point of having committal proceedings for five men aged
between 20 and 24 accused of killing Mr Ryder.

ELEANOR HALL: So what have you been hearing in the court this morning?

KIRSTY NANCARROW: We've just heard the opening address by the crown prosecutor Michael McComb and
it is the first time that we have actually heard the facts of this matter in full.

And he has told the court that the five men had gone out drinking together - they being Timothy
Hird, Anton Kloeden, Joshua Spears, Scott Doody, and Glen Swain. They had been out drinking at the
casino that night. They had got into a utility, proceeded to drive down the dry Todd River and the
crown prosecutor alleged that they drove towards two groups, two camps of Aboriginal people in the

The first group had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit he says and the bedding was run over.
Further up, further north up the river we've heard that once again the vehicle approached, drove
towards at speed another camp; this time one where Mr Ryder was actually there.

So they are actually facing charges of recklessly endangering the lives of eight people as well as
murdering Kwementyaye Ryder. We've heard that they've gone ...

ELEANOR HALL: Sorry Kirsty and given the fears about this case, what is the atmosphere in the court
this morning?

KIRSTY NANCARROW: Well, we've got fewer people than were here for their first appearance. We have
members of all of the accused's family and friends and also a small number of Mr Ryder's family.
Special provisions were made at the Alice Springs Magistrates Court today, extra security and also
a larger courtroom to accommodate not only the family and friends who want to witness this legal
proceeding but also the logistical exercise of actually having five accused in the dock at the same
time and each represented by their own lawyer.

So there is quite a few people in the court room. It is quite a sombre atmosphere. The expressions
of the defendants have remained quite expressionless and we haven't had any tears but everyone has
just been listening intently to what happened on that evening.

ELEANOR HALL: Kirsty Nancarrow at the Magistrates Court in Alice Springs, thank you.