Rachel Antonio hearing will be 'time-consuming': Coroner

John Antonio with his mother and father, Cheryl and Ian Antonio.
John Antonio with his mother and father, Cheryl and Ian Antonio. Daily Mercury


THE inquest into the disappearance of Bowen teenager Rachel Antonio could take up to a month.

It will examine five key questions: Whether or not Rachel Joy Antonio is deceased; if it is found that she is deceased, then when and where Rachel died; what caused her death and how Rachel died.

John Aberdeen, counsel assisting Coroner David O'Connell, said: "It's certainly going to be a time-consuming hearing" as "quite a bit" of evidence would be called.

At the pre-inquest conference held yesterday at the Bowen Courthouse, Mr O'Connell said a draft list of 44 witnesses had been circulated.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, who sought leave to appear and examine witnesses on behalf of Rachel's parents, Ian and Cheryl Antonio, said the list included witnesses she wanted to examine. No order of witnesses had yet been decided, Mr Aberdeen said.

Solicitor Kevin Baxter, of Ruddy Tomlins and Baxter Solicitors, sought leave to appear and instruct Townsville barrister Harvey Walters, for Robert Paul Hytch, who has been "twice tried" in relation to Rachel's suspected homicide.

Mr Aberdeen said he would attempt to disclose all the evidence he currently held to Mr Baxter by the end of this week.

The conference was adjourned for three weeks so any issues arising from the brief of evidence, which was to be delivered by June 2, could be dealt with.

Mr Aberdeen said he was confident he would be able to supply Mr Baxter and Ms Hartigan with all material by June 16.

The inquest will begin on July 21 and go across five days. It will then resume on September 1 and run until September 5. If more time is needed, two weeks from October 21 have been set down.



THE parents of Rachel Antonio nervously sat outside courtroom two of the Bowen Court House minutes away from the moment for which they've waited 16 years.

Ian and Cheryl Antonio were joined by their son John Antonio for the pre-inquest conference into the disappearance of their daughter.

Rachel was 16 when she went missing on Anzac Day in 1998 in Bowen.

John Aberdeen, counsel assisting Coroner David O'Connell, said a draft list of 44 witnesses had been circulated in relation to the inquest.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, who will represent Ian and Cheryl Antonio during the inquest, said the draft list covered the witnesses she would examine on behalf of Rachel's parents.

Mr Aberdeen said it would be a "time consuming hearing" with the evidence probably taking a couple of weeks.

Mr O'Connell adjourned the conference for three weeks to examine any potential issues arising once the brief of evidence was delivered on June 2.

However, he intended the inquest to begin on July 21 this year.

Topics:  bowen court crime inquest rachel antonio

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Rhonda McLucas going coast to coast across the UK for a cure

ROCKY ROAD: Gatton Real Estate principal Rhonda McLucas undertook the West Highland Way walk in 2017.

Rhonda McLucas is taking on the Coast to Coast Walk for a cause.

Awarded for passion

DEDICATION RECOGNISED: Lockyer District State High teacher Belinda Try, centre, holds her Certificate of Commendation that she was presented at a ceremony in Brisbane.

Teacher's passion and leadership recognised

Fifth-generation Brimblecombe takes over the family farm

RUNNING THE SHOW: Forest Hill farmer Mitch Brimblecombe inspects a newly planted crop.

Forest Hill farmer Mitch Brimblecombe is running the family farm.

Local Partners