Gavin Woods
Gavin Woods

Bullying not part of inquest: Coroner

A CORONER told family at a preliminary hearing into the death of Burpengary Primary School deputy principal Gavin Woods that the inquest would not be a royal commission into bullying within Education Queensland.

Coroner John Lock was responding to concerns from Mr Woods' partner Andrea Malfliet about excluding the circumstances surrounding his Cairns teaching role from one of the inquest issues.

Ms Malfliet said she was worried the steps that led to Mr Woods' mental health condition "won't come to light".

Mr Woods was reported missing on June 9 last year. His body was found at bushland in Wamuran almost three weeks later.

Mr Lock agreed that matters in Cairns provided "significant context" for "Mr Woods's state" when he died but his time at the Burpengary school was more important.

"It's not a royal commission in relation to bullying issues in Education Queensland," he said. "There has to be a limitation whereby the investigation and the inquest itself deals with matters connected to the investigation of Mr Woods."

Mr Lock said he believed it was more important to know whether, and to what extent, information about Mr Woods' condition was communicated to Brisbane.

He said there would have been information given to Human Resources, Education Queensland and Work Cover.

Mr Lock said it was important to determine whether he should make recommendations to prevent similar issues in the future.

"What I think is important is the extent to which that information was known to those who made the decision to transfer Mr Woods to Burpengary," he said. "If it wasn't known, why was that? Is there some reason, some policy that makes that type of information restricted?"

Mr Lock gave Ms Malfliet leave to appear in the proceedings which means she can ask witnesses questions.

He said he hoped the inquest would provide the family with some of the answers they sought, though he could not guarantee it.

Mr Lock said the inquest was at an investigative stage with police obtaining statements from people throughout Queensland, arriving at his office almost daily.

Outside court, Ms Malfliet said she was pleased the court had given her "a voice" after the Queensland Teachers' Union refused to be a party to the inquest or provide legal assistance.

"I'm just relieved there is an inquest and all the circumstances surroundings Gavin's death are openly discussed," the Wamuran Basin woman said. "I'm hoping this is an excellent learning opportunity so that people in similar situations don't follow the same path."

Another pre-inquest conference will take place on January 25, with an inquest likely to begin on February 11.

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