SYDNEY, Jan 29 AAP - The inquest into the deaths of barrister Katrina Dawson, cafe manager Tori Johnson and gunman Man Monis is underway.
No members of Ms Dawson's family were at Glebe Coroner's court for the opening day on Thursday, but members of Mr Johnson's family were present.
John O'Brien was the only former hostage attending.
State Coroner Michael Barnes acknowledged the horrifying events and said inquiry staff were steadying themselves.
He cautioned people unfamiliar with the court system, saying that if "we appear dispassionate" it didn't mean they were unconcerned.
"If we are focused on matters forensic, do not fear we have forgotten your grief."
He said prioritising the inquiry wouldn't cause others to be delayed, and stressed the court must protect the families and hostages from the further harm which could flow from forcing them to relive the tragic events too soon.
"The desire for urgent answers" must be weighed against the need for reliable evidence, he said.
The court would do everything in its power to ensure a rigorous and searching inquiry.
Monis's partner, Amirah Droudis, is being represented by lawyer Angelo Bilias.
Solicitors for Mr Johnson's and Ms Dawson's families sought leave to appear, as did counsel Ray Hood for "Officer A", whose name cannot be reported.
Greg Willis is appearing for "Officer B" in the cafe siege entry team.
In his opening address, counsel assisting the coroner Jeremy Gormly SC said that by the end of the inquiry, there should be a "high level" of information about what happened on December 15 last year.
"We will most likely have a detailed and comprehensive picture of the siege," he said.
He said the inquest will look at what happened and why, and whether it could have been avoided.
It will also examine whether it had community implications.
"In this case, as in most cases, some facts are not contentious," he said, adding the time and place of deaths is known.
"What needs full examination is manner and cause of each of the deaths of Ms Dawson and Mr Johnson."
Mr Gormly said a lot of the information will come from the hostages, who had gone through an unimaginable experience.
"They are our eyes and ears and memory," he said.