Special seats, 'alone room' for Morcombes in murder trial

Bruce and Denise Morcombe.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe. Warren Lynam

THE Morcombe family will have courtroom seats reserved and a special room for "alone" time during the trial for their son Daniel's murder in February.

Jurors will be likely questioned about their knowledge of the case against Brett Peter Cowan before they can be empanelled on the jury, similar to the Jayant Patel manslaughter case, which was a Queensland first.

There will be 12 jurors selected from the maximum pool available and three reserve jurors in case any must pull out.

Cowan is accused of abducting Daniel, 13, while he was waiting for a bus on the Nambour Connection Rd on December 7, 2003.

He allegedly murdered Daniel in a house in the Glasshouse Mountains and buried his body in nearby bushland.

Justice Ros Atkinson said, during a directions hearing in Brisbane Supreme Court on Thursday, that she had set aside time from February 4 to 7 for legal argument and planned to begin the trial on February 10.

She said the trial would be live-streamed into a second courtroom to allow for anticipated public interest and into a separate room for media.

Crown prosecutor Glen Cash said the Morcombes would be grateful to know arrangements had been made for them.

Defence barrister Angus Edwards, acting for Cowan, asked for an extension to make submissions for an application hearing in November to stay his client's trial in relation to massive pre-trial publicity.

He will also seek to exclude some evidence from the trial if the stay is unsuccessful.

Justice Atkinson said she did not want to pre-empt the outcome but suggested it would be difficult to persuade the court to grant a stay.

She said she suspected social media comments would be more of a problem than traditional media articles.

Daniel's mother, Denise, has previously pleaded with members of the public to keep their comments on social media to a minimum for fear of affecting the trial.

The Crown asked for some indication of the witnesses required because they would need to organise people from interstate.

Mr Edwards said he expected he could halve the expected witness list for the trial and would hand over his exclusion list as soon as possible.

The court heard the trial would be likely conducted electronically, with video recordings and transcripts on screens.

The stay application will be heard on November 6.

Topics:  bruce and denise morcombe daniel morcombe daniel morcombe foundation murder trial

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