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Emotional mother of Flinders Street accused lashes out logo 23/12/2017

The driver accused of mowing down pedestrians in the Melbourne CBD has been remanded in custody after a brief court appearance attended by his emotional mother.

Heidelberg West man Saeed Noori, 32, was today charged with 18 counts of attempted murder and one count of conduct endangering life.

Mr Noori held his head in his hands as he sat in the dock, while his mother, who was his only supporter in court, tried to approach him but was told to stay seated.

She also tried to move to the front row of seats to be closer to her son, but was told she could not sit there.

Outside court, his mother tried to shield her face from reporters with her bag.

Victoria Police Prosecutor Senior Constable Amitoj Singh told the court the accused man drove a vehicle through the pedestrian intersection of Flinders Street and Elizabeth Street "with the intention of killing or causing serious injury".

"Eighteen people were injured and three remain in a critical condition in hospital," he said.

Senior Constable Singh said the motive remained under investigation and more charges could be added.

When asked if there were any custody management issues, Mr Noori's defence lawyer Tass Antos said: "Yes, your honour, first and foremost mental health."

Mr Antos also said the accused man had physical health issues.

Magistrate Bob Kumar remanded Mr Noori in custody to face a filing hearing on Wednesday. Mr Noori did not apply for bail.

He also ordered that Mr Noori be seen by a nurse for physical and psychiatric assessment.

During the hearing, Mr Noori uttered a quiet: "Thank you," before being led from the dock into custody.

Mr Noori is an Australian citizen who came from Afghanistan via a refugee program in 2004.

A former of Mr Noori's has told 9NEWS he worked with the accused at a call centre, where he was known as Mark.

"There was always talk of his religious beliefs, he was very strong in that," the worker, who only wished to be identified as Daniel, said.

"People would say 'I believe in God' and he'd say 'you need to believe in Allah'.

"It was a forced opinion and we weren't allowed to have our belief if it was his belief, essentially."

Daniel was shocked to hear the man he worked with was allegedly responsible for the Flinders Street rampage but said he'd seen some aggression in Mr Noori before.

"There was one or two instances where he'd blow up and he'd say I need you to calm down you're at work now." 

Twelve people injured in Thursday's car attack remain in hospital, with three people fighting for their lives, Premier Daniel Andrews said today.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said investigators had asked advice from the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions on the charges.

"I've got a firm belief that what he (allegedly) did on Thursday night was a deliberate act," he told reporters.

"The motivations for that act, we'll work through."

Mr Noori, who has drug and mental health issues, made "utterances" to police about voices, dreams and the "poor treatment of Muslims" to officers in hospital on Thursday night.

Mr Leane said Mr Noori later made comments about Australia's top security body and Allah.

Following Thursday's incident, police have reviewed every major event across Victoria and added more police, Mr Leane said.

Crowds at Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight and Boxing Day Test can expect a "highly-visible" police presence as well as at popular spots as Federation Square and Melbourne Central, transport hubs and the MCG.

Mr Andrews said he was confident Victorian and federal investigators, together with counter-terrorism command, are doing all required to ensure justice is served.

"From my point of view, this was a deliberate act, a cowardly act, a terrible evil thing and we all have to patient though, to let the process unfold and see justice done," he said.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said police had so far found no evidence at his home to suggest he had been radicalised, but investigations are continuing.

An 83-year-old from Northcote and two South Koreans in their 60s remain in a critical condition after the 4WD drove on tram tracks and deliberately hit pedestrians crossing Flinders Street on Thursday afternoon.

CCTV footage shows the white car pull out of traffic and onto the tracks, accelerating into the crowd of Christmas shoppers before crashing into a bollard.

All up, 18 pedestrians were admitted to hospital, including nine foreign nationals from China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland, South Korea, and New Zealand.

Police raided homes in West Heidelberg and Oak Park on Thursday night.

Mr Patton says the driver was on a mental health plan, but missed a scheduled appointment on Thursday morning.


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