The Department of Justice has doused rumours that the coronial inquest into the deaths of the three Dungog residents who died during the April super storm would be held in the historic James Theatre.
A Department of Justice spokesman said that a coronial inquest into the deaths of Brian Wilson, 72, Colin ‘‘Spider’’ Webb, 79, and Robin Reid MacDonald, 68, which was rumoured to have been set to occur at the Brown Street theatre, was ‘‘premature’’.
‘‘No decision has been made yet on where the inquest will be held,’’ the spokesman said.
He added that coronial inquests even in cases such as the high profile Martin Place Siege, which happened in Sydney in December, took months to establish.
The spokesman also hosed down rumours that a coroner flew over Dungog in a helicopter on June 1, stating that it had not occurred.
Forensic pathologists determined that the cause of Mr Wilson, Mr Webb and Ms Wilson’s deaths was drowning.
Shortly before 6am on April 21, reports were made by Dungog residents to emergency services that a tsunami-like surge from the Myall Creek had inundated homes in Brown and Hooke streets.
It was in these streets that Mr Webb, in the Alison Court assisted-living facility, Mr Wilson, across the road in Brown Street, and Ms MacDonald in Hooke Street had lived and died.
The Department of Justice spokesman said a brief of evidence had been prepared on Mr Wilson, Mr Webb and Ms MacDonald’s deaths, which included post mortem findings and the police reports.
This was prepared for the coroner who would decide whether the case would be subject to a coronial inquest.
The Department of Justice spokesman said due to the circumstances in which Mr Wilson, Mr Webb and Ms MacDonald died it was likely their deaths would be subject to a coronial inquest.
However, he said a date and location for a coronial inquest, which was open to the public to sit in on and listen to the findings, had not been set.
The matter of Mr Wilson, Mr Webb and Ms MacDonald’s deaths was due to appear for mention in a Newcastle coroner’s court on June 22.
This would be done in the magistrate’s chambers, the spokesman said.