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A determined bid by the media to film the court appearance of the woman charged with hijacking an Air New Zealand plane yesterday was ruled out by Justices of the Peace in Christchurch District Court this morning.
Asha Ali Abdille, 33, stood in the dock with a hood pulled up over her head all through the 10 minute appearance today.
No-one is usually allowed to wear hoods, hats, or sunglasses in the courts but the police left her alone and made no move to intervene while she was remanded in custody to February 22, for a psychiatric report.
TVNZ and TV3 argued in a closed-court session before the official sitting for television coverage to be allowed.
They spoke of the huge national and international interest in the event, and pressure for fresh coverage from Australia and Britain. Fraser described it as the first time in the history of New Zealand that someone had been charged with hijacking.
But the JPs Tom Grigg and Percy Acton-Adams declined the media applications. Mr Grigg said: "It is not a trial. The media guidelines don't necessarily apply in this remand court."
He said he did not believe filming would add anything to the story, and duty solicitor Kerry Cook said he believed coverage in words alone would be sufficient for the remand appearance.
Abdille was arrested at Christchurch Airport yesterday morning after allegedly stabbing three people during an Eagle Air flight from Blenheim to Christchurch.
She has been charged with wounding one of the pilots with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and two charges of injuring with intent. The other two victims are named as a man and a woman.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Jeff Kay said the three alleged victims had requested suppression of name and this was granted by the JPs.
The main charge against Abdille is that "while on board an aircraft in flight within the territory of New Zealand, she unlawfully, by force, attempted to seize control of the aircraft".
At the request of the police - and without opposition from the duty solicitor - Abdille was remanded in custody to a hospital for a psychiatric report under the Criminal Procedures (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act.
Abdille is a 33-year-old vineyard worker from Blenheim. She was born in Somalia. She entered no plea, and said nothing in court.