I have a search list portlet that returns results as I want. I then
however want the user to be returned to the start of the portlet (Basic
Search) if they click on the Search Link on the left hand side of the
screen. Basically we dont trust the users to be able to click on 'New
Search' to start a new search.

I've tried playing with the Maximim Timeout values on the Portlet but
they dont seem to do anything useful?

Is there a way to make the portlet always go back to the start when its