WEIR ANALYSIS: Coroner seeks engineer's report on safety margins of area

THE CORONER seeking information about the death of James Francis Kennedy wants an expert engineer to prepare a report on the South Dubbo weir.

Magistrate Andrew Eckhold yesterday told Dubbo Coroner's Court an application would be lodged with the State Coroner's Office to obtain resources for detailed engineering analysis.

Mr Kennedy died at the weir on October 30 last year. He was aged 19 and described as "a fine young man".

The death was mentioned in court yesterday to determine if a coronial inquest should be held.

Mr Kennedy's mother, grandmother and grandfather were seated in the public gallery during the proceedings. A lawyer from Sydney represented Dubbo City Council.

Magistrate Eckhold said he wanted information about the construction of the weir and safety margins in the area.

"I will be looking at who is responsible for the weir ... Roads and Maritime Services or Burrendong Dam,'' he said.

"I will be looking at the volume of water going over the weir.

"There was a death at the weir just before my commencement in Dubbo.

"That matter was dealt with by Magistrate Howard Hamilton and signage was improved.

"This may go beyond signage.''

Magistrate Eckhold indicated Dubbo City Council was responsible for the banks at the weir.

Council was granted leave to appear at an inquest to be set down at a later date.

The police prosecutor assisting the coroner told the court Mr Kennedy's family was not sure if they needed legal representation.

"Counsel assisting will help me run this matter,'' Magistrate Eckhold told the family.

"If you don't have a lawyer counsel assisting are there to communicate with you.''

Magistrate Eckhold told the family a coronial support unit at Glebe was available to help people understand coronial issues.

"Legal Aid also has a coronial unit,'' he said.

"I recommend that you contact Glebe.

"I will not be rushing this listing. I want an expert engineering report.''

Magistrate Eckhold adjourned the matter to February 18.

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