Witnesses in the Dreamworld inquest may have to be recalled, with the theme park’s owners criticised in court for taking too long to provide crucial documents.
Dreamworld friday key points
The inquiry into the deadly Dreamworld accident has been delayed because more than 1,000 new documents were only handed to the coroner this week.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi were fatally crushed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned in October 2016.
Matthew Hickey, the barrister acting for Ms Low’s family, said witnesses may have to be recalled, telling the court he spent the “better part” of last night trying to review as much of the new information as possible.
He complained to Coroner James McDougall that lawyers for Dreamworld’s owner Ardent Leisure had not alerted the court that the documents “are indeed relevant to the witnesses your honour is about to hear from”.
“Not only to them, to all of the witnesses you have heard from this week. All of them,” Mr Hickey said.
“We reserve our right to seek to invite your honour to recall witnesses from whom your honour has already heard in order that these questions can be properly asked.”
Lawyer for Ardent Leisure, Bruce Hodgkinson, yesterday told the inquiry finding all relevant documents for the “very broad” inquiry was a “very complex, difficult task”.
He again argued his team had to “interrogate a raft of databases”, including personal databases on personal computers to find documents.
“The opportunity to cross examine witnesses has not only been available but has been availed upon,” Mr Hodgkinson said.
Counsel assisting the coroner Ken Fleming “endorsed” Mr Hickey’s comments, pointing out it had been nearly two years since the documents were requested.
“This is from a very large organisation who were responsible for the ride in which four people have died — the worst tragedy of this sort in the history of theme parks,” Mr Fleming said.
“Two years later we are still asking them, despite the size of the corporation and despite the size of the lawyers acting for them, we still haven’t got the documents we require.”
Mr McDougall said he was “reluctant to delay proceedings” and “from a practical point of view” there was little he could do about the matter.
The inquest continues.