The coronial inquest is being held in Lismore.
The coronial inquest is being held in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

'It must be agony': Inquest into man's death delayed

THE coronial inquest into the death of a man in Goonellabah almost six years ago has been delayed.

Dennis Dalton was found outside his home with severe head injuries about 5.30am on June 3 in 2013.

The 29-year-old was taken to Gold Coast Hospital, but passed away 23 days later.

Police had called for information from the community after the incident and said Mr Dalton was believed to have been involved in a fight in nearby Churchward Place earlier in the day.

The inquest, previously heard in part before Magistrate Jeff Linden, went briefly before Lismore Local Court on Wednesday.

The court heard Mr Linden was unavailable due to illness and, although he had been expected to soon hand down his judgment, this could not occur this week.

Counsel assisting the court Garry Rowe told the court "additional evidence" was also grounds to delay the inquest's completion.

He was joined in the court by solicitors David Evenden, representing the Dalton family, and Vince Boss, who is representing a person of interest.

"His honour was about to deliver his findings in this matter," Mr Rowe said.

"Shortly after we left the court, Mr Evenden and I had some discussions... in relation to some further evidence.

"In fairness to Mr Boss' client, that has to be tested."

Mr Boss agreed this was best, although the court heard Mr Evenden had hoped for the matter to be urgently referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Evenden said fairness was not the court's "only consideration" and said there was "some very significant evidence in the form of the tape recording".

The matter was previously referred to the DPP, which declined to take carriage of the case.

Mr Rowe said the Crown "determined there was to be no indictable charges laid" at the time.

Magistrate David Heilpern said it would be most appropriate for Mr Linden to finalise the matter upon his return.

"It's really regrettable this matter has taken so long and I understand Mr Boss, your client's position too," Mr Heilpern said.

"For the family of Dennis it must just be agony having this matter drawn out."

One of three loved ones of Mr Dalton present in court replied: "it is, your honour".

Magistrate Heilpern set the matter down for a mention on May 30 and further hearing on July 3 and 4.

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