Coronavirus ‘anxiety’ delays inquest at Ballina
UPDATE, 10.40am: THE NSW Coroner inquest into the death of Carley Metcalfe, who was found dead in Brunswick River in 2017, has been adjourned amid fears of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Carley, 41, was found dead on November 29, 2017 on the banks the Brunswick River near Mullumbimby, three weeks after she was reported missing by her parents to police.
Magistrate Teresa O'Sullivan told the inquest in Ballina on Wednesday she knew there was "a lot of anxiety because of COVID-19".
"It's affecting everyone, it's absolutely affecting the courts in NSW and how we're running things," Ms O'Sullivan said.
"I know there are people anxious in this court room because it's difficult to maintain the 1.5m distancing."
While the decision was made late yesterday afternoon, Ms O'Sullivan said at the conclusion of the third day of the inquest she had hoped proceedings could continue.
"I'm really aware that (Carley's parents) are desperate for this inquest to finish this week and that' is my wish as well," she said.
"But it's out of my hands if the situation gets worse."
Ms O'Sullivan said precautions needed to be taken as things continued to evolve "quickly".
"I thank everyone for their patience and cooperation," she said.
"It's such a difficult time to be doing this, I know all you can think about is Carley."
A date is yet to be set for the inquest to resume.