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Kovco coronial inquiry hears new evidence -

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TONY JONES: An inquiry has been told that Private Jake Kovco was sexually abused as a child and had
contemplated suicide. An earlier military tribunal found that Private Kovco was killed by his own
gun while skylarking in his barracks in Baghdad in 2006. But now, as Leigh Sales reports, the New
South Wales coroner is investigating with greater access to evidence and witnesses.

LEIGH SALES: Jake Kovco's family has already endured one inquiry. This second investigation will
explore even more painful ground. Today a jury of six heard that Jake Kovco had had a short affair
and that his former lover will be a witness. She'll testify that Private Kovco, seen here standing
in his Baghdad Barracks, told her that as a child he was sexually abused by a 17-year-old neighbour
driving him to suicidal thoughts. His wife Shelly also will appear as a witness, but her view was
that Jake was not a suicide risk. Counsel Assisting the Inquiry John Agius SC said this inquiry
would hear much new information in the case.

JOHN AGIUS, COUNSEL ASSISTING: A great deal of the evidence before this inquest was not known at
the time of the military Board of Inquiry.

LEIGH SALES: He told jury members to make up their own minds but said we expect that the evidence
will point to Jake Kovco being responsible for pulling the trigger and discharging the shot. The
question for the jury is whether he deliberately took his own life, or didn't realise the gun was
loaded. Counsel representing Private Kovco's mother Judy Kovco told the inquiry she wants every
scenario explored, including the possibility of murder. Mrs Kovco can't understand why another
soldier's DNA was all over her son's gun when that soldier claims he never touched it. Leigh Sales,