Alleged Aussie terrorist Neil Prakash ‘refuses’ to appear in court

A Melbourne-born alleged Islamic State fighter has again refused to appear in court, claiming he “does not attend court”.

Neil Prakash, 32, was due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday afternoon, but a prison officer appeared on the video link instead.

“Mr Prakash is actually refusing to attend, he states he ‘does not attend court’,” she said.

The former rapper has refused to appear for successive court appearances since he was extradited to Australia from Turkey in December last year.

He arrived in Darwin escorted by the Australian Federal Police and was charged with six terrorism-related offences, previously indicating he intended to fight the charges.

Police will allege Mr Prakash was a member of a terrorist organisation, advocated a terrorist act and engaged in hostile activity in a foreign country.

It’s alleged he was a member of Islamic State between June 2014 and September 2016 and knowingly provided support to the terror group.

Despite not appearing in court his lawyer, from Doogue and George, said they were ready for the case to be set down for a contested committal hearing.

She foreshadowed the law firm may file an application seeking permission for Mr Prakash to not attend the estimated five-day hearing.

During a contested committal, a magistrate will weigh the evidence before deciding if the case should proceed to trial in a higher court.

The committal was listed to run in May next year, with Magistrate Rohan Lawrence finding “reasonable grounds” for Mr Prakash’s lawyers to cross-examine a mix of police and civilian witnesses.

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