Generic camp site
Generic camp site

CQ camp death charges upgraded to manslaughter

A MAN charged in relation to the death of a woman at camping grounds in central west Queensland has had his charges upgraded to manslaughter.

Troy Allan Donovan, who appeared in the Rockhampton Magistrates Court today for a committal hearing, was originally charged with one count of assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and one count of acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm or transmit a serious disease.

The charges were laid after Bernandine Frances Clement, 38, was found dead on April 19, 2016 at Bladensburg National Park - 17kms south-west of Winton.

Police prosecutor Acting Sergeant Josh McLelland submitted a manslaughter charge to the court to replace the two earlier charges.

He also submitted 15 witness statements and 30 exhibits of evidence.

Defence lawyer Robert East cross examined forensic pathologist Dr Nigel Buxton, who carried out the autopsy on Ms Clement.

The court heard Ms Clement had sustained an injury to the back of the skull, along with small fractures around her ribs, along with haemorrhage around the ribs and sternum. She also had a chronic pulmonary disease and hepatitis B.

"I could not, with all my experience, come up with a definitive cause of death," Dr Buxton said.

He explained how he examined the injury to Ms Clement's skull and his method of extracting the brain to send to a specialist in Europe to examine.

Dr Buxton said his conclusion and that of the European specialist was that the head injury did not contribute to Ms Clement's death, but he did concede it was possible the injury caused her to lose consciousness.

Mr East asked how much background Dr Buxton was provided with prior to conducting the autopsy, to which he advised just that Ms Clement had Hepatitis B.

Mr East asked if it would have helped Dr Buxton in his examination and analysis if he had a complete medical history, including what the chronic pulmonary disease was that she had.

It was at this point that Dr Buxton explained how deadly asthma could be as respiratory problems can exacerbate quickly and lead to cardiac problems.

He then went on to say his examination was hampered by delays transporting the body from Winton to Rockhampton, and then because the right lung was stuck to the chest and the top part of the left lung was punctured by a rib, there was only a portion of the lower left lung to examine and it was sent to a specialist in Western Australia.

Donovan was committed to stand trial, with a date to be set. He did not apply for bail.