Morcombes face more hearings on eve of anniversary

Bruce and Denise Morcombe
Bruce and Denise Morcombe Warren Lynam

LESS than two weeks before the Morcombes face the 11th anniversary of Daniel's murder, they must sit through two days of legal arguments in Queensland's highest court about his convicted killer's confessions to covert police.

Bruce Morcombe said there was no doubt he would attend the hearing in the Queensland Court of Appeal tomorrow and Thursday but wife Denise was indecisive.

He said it was unlikely the appeal court would make a decision on Thursday and that a decision was more likely early next year.

"I think we owe it to Daniel that we run the process fully out," he said.

"I appreciate it is only legal technicalities that will be aired in court. We don't expect anything earth-shattering to happen, but one never knows and we just want to be there.

"While we know most of it is behind us, we still have a little way to go.

"No one is saying to us that the appeal is the final hurdle. There is the possibility of an appeal to the high court.

"I think the interesting thing is that nobody is saying 'we're going through the appeal process because you've locked up an innocent man'.

"Why are we going through the appeal process when we're testing legal angles?

"Should the technicality stand up, wow, where do we go from here?

"We have the utmost confidence that the appeal process, (it's) an exercise in his rights like everybody else.

"But we hope the guilty verdict stands and we believe it will."

Brett Peter Cowan, 44, was found guilty in March of taking Daniel from beneath the Kiel Mountain Rd overpass on December 7, 2003, indecently touching him and then dumping his body in Glasshouse Mountains bushland after killing him through a chokehold.

He maintained he fabricated the story he told undercover police in Western Australia during an elaborate sting.

It is believed he will appeal the convictions based on decisions made during pre-trial hearings, specifically the admissibility of Cowan's confessions to covert police, and publicity about the case before and during the trial.

Cowan is also expected to argue the justice misdirected the jury, witnesses who knew Douglas Jackway should have been called and other perceived issues during the trial.

The Attorney-General also lodged an appeal arguing Cowan's sentence - life imprisonment with a 20-year non-parole period - was manifestly inadequate, was not in line with community expectations and did not set an adequate deterrent.

Mr Morcombe said, from Toowoomba where they have speaking engagements at schools, life had changed since Cowan was found guilty and their book had now become a best seller, exceeding 25,000 sales for hard covers and e-books.

"Being out in the community, not just in Queensland but interstate as well, Daniel's story is bigger and stronger than ever before and so many people shake our hand and chat with us and really identify that they felt our anxiety and frustration and shed some tears for us over many, many years," he said.

As the next anniversary nears, Mr Morcombe noted 11 years was almost a third of a police officer's working life and a huge percentage of their lives.

"It's only a couple of years from now and Daniel will have been gone longer than he was alive, that's not all that far away," he said.

Topics:  bruce and denise morcombe editors picks

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