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Coroner's Findings

Coroner's Findings  - Lawyer / Solicitor Article.

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Coroner's Findings matters)

The Law -Coroner's Findings- Law - Lawyer / Solicitor Article

Sections 45 of the Coroner's Act Queensland states:

  1. A coroner who is investigating a suspected death must, if possible, find whether or not a death in fact happened.
  2. A coroner who is investigating a death or suspected death must , if possible, fins-
    • (a) who the deceased person is; and
    • (b) how the person died; and
    • (c) when the person died; and
    • (d) where the person died, and in particular whether the person died in Queensland; and
    • (e) what caused the person to die
  3. However, the coroner need not make the findings listed in subsection (2) if-
    • (a) the coroner is unable to find that a suspected death in fact happened; or
    • (b) the coroner stops investigating the death under section 12(1)
  4. The coroner must give written copy of the findings to-
    • (a) a family member of the deceased person who has indicated that he or she will accept the document for the deceased person's family; and
    • (b) if an inquest was held-any person who, as a person with sufficient interest in the inquest, appear at the inquest; and
    • (c) if the deceased person was a child-the children's commissioner; and
    • (d) if the coroner is not the State Coroner-the State Coroner.
  5. The coroner must not include in his findings any statement that a person is, or may be-
    • (a) guilty of an offence: or
    • (b) civilly liable for something.
  6. This section applies whether or nor an inquest is held.

 

Coroner's Comments:

Section 46 of the Coroner's Act states:

  1. A coroner may, wherever appropriate, comment on anything connected with a death investigated at an inquest that relates to-
    • (a) public health or safety; or
    • (b) the administration of justice; or
    • (c) ways to prevent deaths from happening in similar circumstances in the future.
  2. The coroner must give a written copy of the comments to-
    • (a) a family member of the deceased person who has indicated that he or she will accept the document for the deceased person's family; and
    • (b) any person who, as a person with sufficient interest in the inquest, appear at the inquest; and
    • (c) if the coroner is not the State Coroner-the State Coroner; and
    • (d) if a government entity deals with the matters to which the comment relates-
      • (i) the Minister administering the entity; and
      • (ii) the chief executive of the entity; and
    • (e) if the comments relate to the death of a child-the children's commissioner.
  3. The coroner must not include in his findings any statement that a person is, or may be-
    • (c) guilty of an offence: or
    • (d) civilly liable for something.

Coroner's Comments and Findings for deaths  in Care or custody

Section 47 States:

  1. This section applies to the findings, and any comments, of a coroner made in relation to the investigation of a death in care or death in custody.
  2. The coroner must give a written copy of the findings and comments to-
    • (a) the Attorney-General;
    • (b) the appropriate chief executive; and
    • (c) the appropriate Minister

Reporting Offences or Misconduct

  1. A reference in this section to information does not include information obtained under section 39(2)
  2. If, from information obtained while investigating a death, a coroner reasonably suspects a person has committed an offence, the coroner must give the information to-
    • (a) for an indictable offence-the director of public prosecutions; or
    • (b) for any other offence- the chief executive of the department in which the legislation creating the offence is administered.
  3. A coroner may give information about official misconduct or police misconduct under the Crime and Misconduct Act 2001 to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
  4. A coroner may give information about a person's conduct in a profession or trade, obtained while investigating a death, to a disciplinary body for the person's profession ot trade if the coroner reasonably believes the information might cause the body to inquire into, ot take steps in relation to, the conduct.
  5. In this section-
    Disciplinary body for a person's profession or trade means a body that-
    • (a) licenses, registers or otherwise approves the carrying on the profession or trade; or
    • (b) can sanction, or recommend sanctions for, the person's conduct in the profession or trade.
 

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