Court collapse linked to previous murder trial

THE mother of a boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who is suing Education Queensland has been excused from giving further evidence a day after suffering a panic attack in the witness box.

Julie Connor and her husband Peter launched legal action against the department over their son Beau's alleged treatment at a school in Hervey Bay between 2011 and 2015.

Julie Connor is taken by paramedics from the Federal Court of Australia in Brisbane. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP
Julie Connor is taken by paramedics from the Federal Court of Australia in Brisbane. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP

The family alleges the boy was subjected to physical violence, restraint and seclusion because of his disabilities at the school between 2011 and 2015.

The department has denied it was unlawful discrimination, arguing Beau's behaviour was an "ongoing risk" to staff and students' health and safety.

The trial was delayed on Monday, with both parents taken to hospital mid-waythrough the hearing in the Federal Court in Brisbane.

Mrs Connor was giving evidence when she was asked how difficult her son's early years were by her husband, who is representing the family in court.

She broke down at that point and began hyperventilating, in what appeared to be a panic attack, before being taken to hospital.

During the ambulance ride, Mr Connor suffered serious chest pains and was treated in the same hospital as his wife.

Peter Connor has returned to the Federal Court this morning. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP
Peter Connor has returned to the Federal Court this morning. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP

This morning, Mr Connor returned to court where he told Justice Darryl Rangiah his wife would not be able to continue giving evidence.

"She told me that it was not the question that triggered her but a flashback of giving evidence at my mother's murder trial," he said.

The court has heard Mrs Connor has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder since witnessing William Kelvin Fox, her husband's father, murder his ex-wife Patricia Atkinson near Gympie in August 1996.

Mrs Connor froze soon after being asked about the incident, during which she was shot in the shoulder.

The trial continues.