Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the media conference to discuss court delays.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe at the media conference to discuss court delays.

Morcombe case will go ahead this year, says Chief Justice

THE case against the man accused of murdering Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe looks set to proceed later this year, despite claims in a Brisbane newspaper it had been delayed.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said he was assured there were adequate resources and the case was on track despite claims the trial would not be heard until next year.

Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions Tony Moynihan had defended suggestions he did not have enough experienced prosecutors to deal with the high-profile Sunshine Coast case.

"If the DPP don't believe they have the internal resources available they can easily outsource to senior members of the bar in Queensland," Mr Bleijie said.

"It is expensive but if it's a matter of justice in getting these matters before the courts in the best way possible, a timely way, then I would have no hesitation in resourcing the DPP to get those matters done.

"I think in an ideal world we would love these matters to proceed to trial as soon as possible ... but there's a process of the DPP have to follow.

"(Mr Moynihan) believes the resources are adequate to address these upcoming trials."

Their comments came after Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey suggested Brett Peter Cowan's trial could have been heard this year if the prosecutions office had a senior prosecutor to start the trial.

However, the chief justice issued a statement late yesterday that he had been assured the Cowan case was "proceeding regularly" and "with a promptness which other jurisdictions probably could not deliver".

"I have spoken directly to the Attorney-General, and I have spoken with the Director of Public Prosecutions, and I am reassured the Cowan matter is proceeding regularly,'' the statement said.

"If for example a pre-trial application is made, and they are a common feature of major criminal proceedings, the court should be able to accommodate that in the ordinary way before the end of this year.

"The government has ensured the Supreme Court can deal with criminal matters comparatively quickly. For example, an additional judge was appointed last year at my request.

"I have made it plain that I am not being critical of the Attorney-General or the Director of Public Prosecutions.''

"The present reassurance is that the Cowan matter will be dealt with regularly, and with a promptness which other jurisdictions probably could not deliver."
Mr Moynihan also issued a statement saying his office met the statutory requirement to deliver indictments in 100% of cases.

"My office has the resources necessary to prosecute the matters listed for hearing," he said.

Mr Bleijie said Mr Moynihan told him his office was on track to deliver an indictment for Cowan by August 6 as the law required and then begin pre-trial hearings before the end of the year.

"This is not an uncommon time frame but I say to the parties involved I do empathise with the delay," he said on Tuesday.

"It's important families get closure, particularly … in respect to the Morcombes.

"I do empathise with them because these delays can cause hurt to the families."

Bruce and Denise Morcombe said the disappointing set backs were like being "beaten up" and they hoped the DPP would "pull their finger out".

But they hoped highlighting the slow turning wheels of justice would mean other families would not go through the same thing.

Mr Morcombe said he had sent letters seeking dates so they could try to fit the trial into their busy schedule as child safety ambassadors and running the Daniel Morcombe Foundation.

"It probably won't make any difference in Daniel's case because we're too far down the track but if we can rattle the can a little bit and ensure that some of the gaps presenting themselves now it will help other families in our predicament and that will be a good thing," Mr Morcombe said.

Cowan, 43, was charged with Daniel's murder in August, 2011, and committed to stand trial in February.
The trial is expected to be one of the longest in Queensland's legal history.

Claims case against Daniel Morcombe accused delayed

EARLIER: The case against Daniel Morcombe's accused murderer has reportedly been delayed until next year because the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions does not have enough experienced prosecutors.

Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey has told News Ltd the case against Brett Peter Cowan could have been heard this year, but the office lacked the resources.

Queensland's Office of the DPP has an operating budget of about $40 million. In comparison, the NSW office spends almost $70 million on salaries alone.

According to the News Ltd report, the trial has been delayed because a senior prosecutor is not available to start the trial this year.

Denise Morcombe told APN that she and husband Bruce had hoped for the start of the trial later this year.

"We were hoping so we blocked our diary for late in the  year but weren't given any dates,'' she said.

The couple travel all over Australia visiting schools with the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to teach children about child safety.

They are also official child safety ambassadors for the Queensland Government.

Mrs Morcombe said the reported delay was disappointing.

"We would like some sort of date (for the trial to start) but can't get one.''

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told News Ltd  he was assured Queensland's DPP was adequately funded.

Brett Peter Cowan, 43, was charged with Daniel's murder in August 2011.

He was committed to stand trial in February.

The trial is expected to be one of the longest in Queensland's legal history.

The DPP has until August 6 to present an indictment in the Supreme Court.

That is still expected to happen.

The Morcombes have already had frustrating delays with Queensland's legal system.

Their lawyer Peter Boyce had to fight to have Daniel's remains returned to the family.

That was only done in November last year after bone fragments identified as belonging to the teenager were found at a search site in the Glass House Mountains in August 2011.

APN has sought further comment from Mr Bleijie on the staffing off the DPP and delays in the Morcombe case.