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Answering Questions at a Coronial Hearing

Are you going to be answering questions at a coronial hearing?

Often, the Coronial may be driven by Police as a mechanism to gather enough evidence that a crime has been committed or to provide sufficient evidence to issue charges.

In those situations, it is often very important to assert your right against self-incrimination.
That is, not giving evidence as it may bolster the Police case.

It it important to recognise that not giving evidence is not a sign of guilt. It is merely asserting the ancient right each citizen has. Specifically, if the State is going to prosecute you it should prove the case itself and should not force you to talk to prove their case. Given the normal imbalance of resources it is one of the few rights that a person has and should be understood and used.

The right against self-incrimination involves the intersection of section 128 of the Evidence Act and the Coroners Act. Generally, if a person is asserting privilege the Court will want them represented.

It is always best to prepare for this in advance so that your lawyers can put your position forward as clearly as possible.

Below is a a diagram outlining the basics of applying privilege in respect of self-incrimination.

coronial-privilege-flowchart

Of course, if you have any further queries, you should discuss them with a lawyer well-versed in the law as it applies to Coronial Inquests.

If you are interested in learning more about coronial, read on: