Daniel Morcombe murder trial jury may visit bones site
THE bushland site where Daniel Morcombe's bones were found on the Sunshine Coast might receive a visit from the jury selected in a trial against his alleged murderer.
Justice Ros Atkinson said she wanted to know whether this site visit to the Glass House Mountains, around the Kings Road area he was found, had to be organised.
She said, during a directions hearing in Brisbane Supreme Court on Tuesday, that she also wanted to know by month's end what questions the jury would be asked to aid the selection process and ensure accused murderer Brett Peter Cowan, 44, would have a fair trial.
Jurors were also polled during the two trials involving Bundaberg surgeon Dr Jayant Patel in the first time the practice was undertaken in Queensland.
The vast media coverage, as well as social media commentary, means the Morcombe case will be the second.
The Morcombe family will have their own room on the same floor as the trial courtroom for their private use if they need "alone" time.
"I imagine this will be a very difficult and trying time for them," Justice Atkinson said.
"That's a space where they can be on their own."
Daniel vanished while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain overpass at Woombye on December 7, 2003.
He was planning to go to Sunshine Plaza to buy Christmas presents for his family.
Mr Cowan will face a trial in February accused of murdering and indecently treating the 13-year-old Palmwoods boy before interfering with his corpse.
In 2011, DNA tests confirmed bones found in dense bushland in the Glass House Mountains were those belonging to Daniel.
His remains were only released to the family last year to allow him to be buried at the Woombye Cemetery.
Defence barrister Angus Edwards told the court on Tuesday that he would not contradict that DNA evidence.
A pre-trial hearing, which could involve up to 12 witnesses, will begin Wednesday and likely to spill into next week.
Ms Atkinson said publishing details of those legal arguments could reduce the ability of the court to provide a fair trial to Mr Cowan.
She said this could prove damaging to Mr Cowan, the Morcombe family and "the fabric of our state".
"Once the trial is on everything is publishable and should be," she said.
"That's the principle of open justice.
"The only thing that concerns me is publication of material now might prejudice the trial."
The parties also discussed whether to sit on Fridays during the six-week trial.
Justice Atkinson said jurors, and those involved in the case, needed time to attend to person matters such as doctor or dentist appointments.
Mr Cash said they should make use of three hours on Friday morning and have the afternoon off each week while Mr Edwards suggested having every Friday off.
The trial will be conducted electronically with much of the evidence presented on screens within the courtroom and available digitally in the jury room.