Man appears on murder charge

Police Detectives were at the Imperial Hotel in Gatton investigating the death of a man during an altercation on Friday night.
Police Detectives were at the Imperial Hotel in Gatton investigating the death of a man during an altercation on Friday night. David Nielsen / Ipswich Queensland Times

ACCUSED killer Christopher James Earel stood calmly in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court dock this morning as Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck formally charged him with murder.

Dressed in prison brown tracksuit pants and T-shirt, the 26-year-old Bribie Island man made no comment as Mr Schemioneck charged him with the murder of Laurence Shane Black.

Police claim Mr Black, 46, of Brisbane, died after being struck during a bar fight at Gatton's Imperial Hotel about 11 o'clock Friday night.

A motorcycle swap meet and Halloween celebrations in Gatton over the weekend made for a larger than normal crowd out on the town.

Mr Black, who was married, had a stall set up for the motorcycle swap meet and police believed the accused was in Gatton to attend the swap meet the next day.

The neatly groomed, fit-looking Earel was not required to enter any plea to the charge of murder and his solicitor Neil Lawler asked that the matter be adjourned for committal mention.

Prosecutor Sergeant Tony Costa asked Mr Schemioneck to transfer the case to the Ipswich Magistrates Court as Gatton matters came under the jurisdiction of that court.

Because a magistrate has no jurisdiction to grant bail on a charge of murder, no application for bail was made and Earel was remanded in custody with the charge transferred to the Ipswich Magistrates Court for committal mention at 2pm, December 21.

The handcuffed Earel waved to friends in the back of the court as he was led away to the watchhouse cells after his appearance in court.

He will be excused from appearing in the Ipswich court when his matters are next mention in December.

Topics:  gatton murder toowoomba toowoomba magistrates court

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