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Alleged Mail Bomber Sent for Tests

December 11, 1998

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) _ The man accused of waging a nationwide letter-bombing campaign in Australia was sent to a psychiatric hospital today for testing amid concern he may try to commit suicide.

Colin Dunstan, 43, who faces 28 counts of endangering life with an explosive device, was ordered by a judge to a Sydney prison hospital for round-the-clock observation.

Dunstan was arrested a week ago after he was admitted with a slashed wrist into a hospital in the Australian capital, Canberra, following three days of national panic over letter bombs.

A letter bomb exploded at the Canberra mail center Dec. 2, slightly injuring two postal workers. That led to a nationwide alert in which 27 similar devices were discovered.

The judge, Ron Cahill, said he was concerned about Dunstan’s welfare after initial psychiatric assessments found that he was at risk of harming himself. ``If we are wrong it could have fatal results,″ Cahill said.

Dunstan, who has made no plea or bail application, will reappear in the Canberra court in on Dec. 23 following psychiatric assessment.

Dunstan had been on leave from the Australian Tax Office after having an affair with a female coworker in 1990 and 1991, according to court documents. He blamed this episode for the breakup of his own marriage.

He apparently also blamed the tax office and various human rights and equal opportunity officials for his troubles. Police said all 28 letter bombs were all addressed to such authorities.

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