Murder case may be delayed by sheer number of witnesses
A COMMITTAL hearing to determine whether a homeless man who allegedly stomped a Woodridge grandfather to death last April will stand trial may be delayed due to the sheer volume of witnesses to be called.
Paul John Conoley, 41, is charged that on the morning of April 26 last year at some time before 5am he stomped on the head of grandfather-of-eight Steven Church so severely he killed him.
Church was found in the middle of the road at the intersection of Defiance and North roads at Woodridge and died on the way to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
Conoley was arrested later that morning and been remanded in custody since.
His committal hearing was due to commence next month on Thursday, July 16, but according to Magistrate Brian Kilmartin, that timeline now looks shaky.
Defence lawyer David Carlin told the court he was requesting that all six witnesses due to give evidence at next month's committal hearing do so in person rather than via telephone.
"It's a reasonable request, but it might play havoc with the date that's set," Mr Kilmartin said.
There are still tight COVID-19 restrictions on the sort of work courts can do. Jury trials are yet to recommence in the District Court and the same problem of managing social distancing presents presents itself in committal hearings in Magistrates Courts with lots of witnesses.
"Hearing dates are precious at the moment," Mr Kilmartin said.
"But obviously this needs to take a priority."
He left it to the police prosecutor and Mr Carlin to proceed on the presumption that July 16 is going ahead and start lining up the witnesses for that day.
In addition to murder, Conoley is also charged with serious assault of a police officer by bitting, spitting etc.
Originally published as Murder case may be delayed by sheer number of witnesses