National

Family fights for Qld cold case justice

By AAP Newswire

The family of missing Perth backpacker Tony Jones has vowed to keep fighting for justice after a "bewildering" Queensland court ruling snuffed out their hopes for a fresh inquest into his disappearance almost 40 years ago.

Mr Jones mysteriously vanished near Townsville in November 1982 while hitchhiking to Mount Isa.

The 20-year-old's body has never been found but a coronial inquest in 2002 ruled he'd probably been murdered.

A second inquest in 2010 also heard that after Mr Jones was killed his body may have been burned in slaughter yards in the outback town of Hughenden.

That inquiry was halted part-way through when lawyers noticed the inquest was being heard under the 1958 Coroners' Act and not the updated 2003 legislation.

Nine years on, Mr Jones' family believes they know who murdered their brother and are furious with Queensland police, who they say have failed to follow up leads and lost critical evidence.

But their hopes for a fresh inquest using the 2003 Coroners' Act, which would have allowed the coroner to probe the police investigation, was dashed in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Justice Elizabeth Wilson dismissed their application for a review of the decision to hold the second inquest using the 1958 Coroners' Act.

She also ruled out making an order to the State Coroner that he considers a new inquest using the 2003 legislation.

"I am of the opinion that this application (submitted in 2018) was not made within a reasonable time after the (2010) decision (to hold the second inquest) was made," she said of the in her judgment.

Justice Wilson went on to say that even if the application had been made sooner, she would not have granted the Jones family a fresh inquest using the newer legislation.

Hopefully, this helps the "Jones family to have finality as to this issue", she said.

Mr Jones older brother Mark says he's bewildered by the decision but vowed to keep fighting for his missing brother.

"I don't understand, four other similar cold cases have already been heard under the 2003 act," he told AAP from his home in Perth.

"It's concerning but we're not going to stop pushing until Tony's killers are charged."

Queensland police refused to comment on Mr Jones' disappearance while the matter is the subject of an inquest.