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Media warned at Palm Island hearing

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 29 March 2005

A directions hearing into the death of a Palm Island man has heard newspaper articles published ahead of a second inquest may be in contempt.

Coroner's assistant Kerry Martin told deputy state coroner Christine Clements that articles appearing in a national newspaper this morning, which detailed an autopsy report, could alter public opinion.

Mr Martin added that their contents could be in contempt of the new inquest.

Ms Clements is presiding over the second inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee after Coroner Michael Barnes dismissed himself from the first inquest last month.

During this morning's hearing the deputy coroner told parties she has avoided all newspaper and television stories in relation to the death, to avoid any outside influence.

She reminded all media present in the crowded court that such reporting was not helpful and warned remedies must be pursued if there are breaches.

Mr Martin says he will refer the matter to the Attorney-General.

The directions hearing will establish the framework of the second inquest into the death of Mr Doomadgee, who died in police custody last November.

Two of Mr Doomadgee's sisters were present at the hearing today.

Groups represented by legal counsel include Mr Doomadgee's family and de facto, the Queensland Police Service, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and the Palm Island community.

Palm Island community chairwoman Erykah Kyle also made the trip to Brisbane to oversee proceedings.

The hearing continues.

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