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Accused tries to sack his solicitor

MICHAEL CORKHILL: The mental health case worker, who was allegedly stabbed to death by one of his clients in Lismore on Saturday, was taking lessons in Lismore to become a pilot.
MICHAEL CORKHILL: The mental health case worker, who was allegedly stabbed to death by one of his clients in Lismore on Saturday, was taking lessons in Lismore to become a pilot.

MICHAEL CORKHILL, who was allegedly murdered in Lismore at the weekend, was a gentle soul dedicated to helping others.

Mr Corkhill was lauded yesterday as the mentally ill East Lismore man accused of the health care case worker's brutal murder appeared in the Lismore Local Court, where he tried to fire his legal aid solicitor, who had agreed to a Justice Health report being done on his client.

David Regan Rodriguez, 28, is charged with the murder of Mr Corkhill, 48, between 7.45pm and 8.20pm on June 27 at a unit in Marlyn Avenue and appeared before Court Registrar Michael Knock. He did not make a bail application.

Police revealed on Sunday Mr Corkhill was found dead with multiple stab wounds at the unit. Rodriguez was arrested at the scene.

Solicitor Hugh van Dugteren agreed to a police request for a forensic procedure to be done on Rodriguez, who he said suffered from a 'serious mental illness', and who he thought lacked the capacity to provide these instructions.

When Mr Knock asked for the Justice Health report to be done, Rodriguez, who had been sitting quietly in the dock, called out 'No you're not'.

"You're fired," he said to Mr van Dugteren. "I don't like the way you asked for a Justice Health (report). I've been through a lot, losing my fiancée, my life."

The police prosecutor said at least eight weeks was needed to prepare a brief of evidence.

Mr Knock adjourned the matter to August 18, with Rodriguez to stay in custody. As he left the dock Rodriguez said 'sorry your honour'.

Mr Corkhill was a case worker with the non-government organisation On Track Community Programs that runs mental health programs.

Mr Corkhill's partner declined to make any comment yesterday.

Mr Corkhill's flying instructor, Bill Kiernan, from the Northern Rivers Aero Club, yesterday said he remembered the man fondly.

"He was a gentleman and a gentle person, and I think he took up flying for all the right reasons," Mr Kiernan said.

"It was a challenge and it was something he wanted to accomplish. He was just such a nice, nice fellow."

Mr Corkhill was also dedicated to his work.

"He worked very hard and I know he was absolutely dedicated to his job," Mr Kiernan said. "He genuinely wanted to help people."


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