AFTER nine days of testimony, the last witness took the stand in the coronial inquest into the death of Mullumbimby High School student Jai Morcom following a playground brawl in 2009.
The former student recalled the chaos that ensued as he tried to break up the fight that flared out of control when one student spat on another following a tussle over lunch tables.
Following the testimony, Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon allowed statements from Jai’s parents before hearing the final submissions from counsel.
Jai’s mother, Kim Morcom, who attended the inquest intermittently over the past two weeks, handed her words to counsel assisting the coroner, Michael Wigney SC, to read to the court.
What she hoped to take from the inquest most of all was an understanding as to why Jai entered the fight in the first place.
“If he had not joined in he would still be with me today,” she said.
“I love and miss him so much. My life will never be the same.”
When delivering his final submission to the court, Mr Wigney said it appeared Jai joined the fight “to help his mates”.
An exhausted Steve Drummond, Jai’s father, who represented Jai and the family throughout the inquest, delivered his statement to the court himself.
He described the cheeky, intelligent boy and loyal friend the court had come to know through nearly two weeks of intense and emotional testimony.
“I know the loss of Jai involves waves of unbearable pain but I say to Kim, it is her guidance and love for Jai and his sisters and brother that helped shape a beautiful human being,” he said.
“I just hope one day that all who loved Jai, including myself, can learn to live with this incomprehensible loss and as time passes we can think of him without pain and only smile at the joy he brought to us all.”
A moved Deputy State Coroner said he too hoped that could happen and thanked Mr Drummond for his “eloquent words”.
Following Mr Wigney’s final submission, Mr Dillon again thanked Mr Drummond.
“I commend you for the skill with which you conducted your case. You’ve earned the respect of everyone involved,” he said.
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