Further delays for inquest into police shooting
AN INQUEST into the shooting death of police officer Brett Forte is facing further delays, dragging out the ordeal for his family and friends after he was killed three years ago.
The Courier-Mail recently confirmed an inquest was due to be held in the second half of the year, but it could now be delayed further due to court closures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Senior Constable Forte, a father of three, was killed by gunman Rick Maddison who ambushed him and other officers in May 2017, just outside Toowoomba.
Sen Const. Forte, an officer in Toowoomba's Tactical Crime Squad, was shot before the gunman fled.
The crazed gunman who had a "grievance against police" then had a 20-hour stand-off with the Special Emergency Response Team before confronting officers who shot and killed him.
Police from the Ethical Standards Command undertook a thorough investigation after the officer's death which has now been passed on to the coroner.
Before the latest coronavirus setback Sen Constable Forte's father Stuart Forte, who is a retired police officer, told The Courier-Mail the lengthy time frame, which was approaching three years since his son's death, had been difficult for the family.
"It has been a lack of closure," Mr Forte said.
"We're just resigned to the fact that it (the inquest) happens when it happens."
A spokesman for the Coroners Court of Queensland said last month the State Coroner had recently been provided with investigation material from police. An inquest into the gunman's death is mandatory under the Coroners Act.
When first contacted he said the inquests were due to heard in Toowoomba in the second half of 2020.
"However, due to the rapidly evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Coroner is unable to advise at this stage if the time frame for the hearing dates will be affected," the spokesman later said.
"Issues relating to when the matters can be listed and whether they will be heard together will be the subject of submissions at a pre-inquest conference, which may be held via telephone or video-link in June 2020."
Mr Forte said he would rather the inquests be held separately.
"I don't particularly like talking about the other person," he said.
"We never mention his name, I think they are totally separate circumstances."
When former police commissioner Ian Stewart retired last year he said the officer's death and subsequently speaking with his father would stay with him forever.
"It was terribly hard," Mr Stewart said.
"I knew Stewie Forte personally.
"In the circumstances as a father whose son has just been killed, he was amazing and so was, Susan, Brett's wife (who is also a police officer)."
Originally published as Further delays for inquest into police shooting