Purpose of Coronial Inquests or Investigations

The aim of the Coroners Court is to investigate certain deaths and fires for the purposes of finding the causes of those deaths and fires.

The Coroner, at the conclusion of the investigation, may make a make a finding of fact in relation to a death or fire. If the Coroner considers it to be appropriate they can make recommendations to organisations and other relevant parties to encourage them to make changes to procedures and practices that the Coroner believes need changing.

The intention is to reduce the number of preventable deaths and fires. The Coroner does not find people guilty of crimes nor nor do they find that a person should face civil proceedings.

Very importantly, the Coroner can, however, refer a matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions if the Coroner believes that a serious offence may have been committed in connection with a death or fire.

This is the part where Criminal law and the Coroner’s Court intersect. It is imperative to have legal advice and legal representation if there is a possibility that a referral to the DPP might be considered. It is important to question witnesses to make sure that the evidence placed before the Court is balanced and does not allow people to be blamed by other parties when they should not be.

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