Cases Reported

R (Annette Hay) v HM Coroner for Lincolnshire 1
Issue: Whether the coroner was obliged to disclose a list of witnesses before the inquest; whether and to what extent cross-examination should be permitted of witnesses claiming privilege against self-incrimination; whether evidence of police interviews was admissible; whether the jury had been properly directed as to the meaning and availability of a verdict of accident in circumstances involving a deliberate but lawful act unforeseeably leading to death; whether an adjournment to allow further relevant witnesses to be called had been properly refused; whether costs should be awarded against the coroner.
HM Coroner for Kent v Matthew Terrill and Michaela Terrill 16
Issue: Whether a witness could escape liability for contempt of court in failing to attend an inquest when inadequate conduct money had been tendered with the witness summons.
Powell and Powell v UK (Admissibility decision) 19
Issue: Whether errors of judgment by health professionals or negligent co-ordination among health professionals leading to a patient’s death amounted to a breach of Art 2 ECHR; whether the applicants could claim for breaches of Art 2 and Art 8 ECHR where they had not pursued domestic procedures; whether the striking out of the applicants' claim against the doctors in relation to alleged falsification of medical records was a breach of Art 6 ECHR.
R v HM Coroner Coventry ex p Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police 35
Issue: Whether neglect could be found to have contributed to a death notwithstanding that it preceded the accident which was itself the immediate cause of death.
R v HM Coroner for Northumberland ex p Jacobs 43
Issue: Whether a coroner had acted beyond his powers in ordering a post mortem examination contrary to the wishes of the deceased’s husband.
R v HM Coroner for Swansea and Gower ex p Tristram 45
Issue: Whether in the circumstances of a death in custody from an unrecognised drugs overdose a verdict of neglect should have been left to the jury; whether the coroner had misdirected the jury on the issue of neglect in circumstances where he had referred to “reasonable care” and had failed to refer to the issue of causation.
R v Coroner of the Queen’s Household ex p Mohamed Al Fayed 50
Issue: Whether the father of a person who had died in a car accident together with the deceased should be treated as an interested party at the inquest into the latter’s death.
In the matter of Tabarn 52
Issue: Whether, where a coroner had recorded a verdict of death by natural causes in circumstances where the deceased had died in her sleep after being hypnotised at a stage performance, there should be a fresh inquest.
Fields v HM Coroner for Southwark; R v Southwark Coroner ex p Fields 58
Issue: Whether, in circumstances where it was alleged that the deceased had been unlawfully killed by a blow from a police baton, evidence of the deceased’s previous convictions was relevant and should be admitted; whether it was necessary for the coroner to give the jury specific directions about the deceased’s previous convictions.
R v HM Coroner for the District of Avon ex p Smith and Smith 63
Issue: Whether in circumstances where a delay in providing medical treatment may have caused or contributed to a death otherwise by natural causes the coroner was under a duty to hold an inquest.
Robert Hay v HM Coroner for the County of Devon; R v HM Coroner for the County of Devon ex p Mary Hay and Robert Hay 67
Issue: Whether, in circumstances where the deceased had been shot dead by armed police officers, it was necessary for the coroner to obtain the investigating officer’s report to the Police Complaints Authority; whether the coroner had misdirected the jury as to unlawful killing by gross negligence manslaughter.
R v HM Coroner for Birmingham and Solihull ex p Benton 72
Issue: Whether a verdict of natural causes was the only possible verdict when some evidence suggested that a medical procedure may have caused the death. Whether accident/misadventure should have been left to the jury.
R v HM Coroner for Exeter and East Devon ex p Sharon Palmer 78
Issue: The circumstances in which a court might interfere with a coroner’s decision; whether, in circumstances where it was not possible to say that death had not been caused during a period of lawful restraint, a verdict of unlawful killing could be left to the jury.
In the matter of Capt Christopher John Kelly 88
Issue: Whether new evidence justified holding a new inquest; the factors relevant to determining whether a new inquest would be in the interests of justice.
R v HM Coroner for Wiltshire ex p Clegg 96
Issue: Whether a fresh inquest should be ordered in circumstances where, after the original inquest had been held, it became apparent that there had been serious shortcomings in the deceased’s treatment at hospital.
Osman v UK 101
Issue: Whether, where the police had not prevented a third party fatally attacking members of the applicants’ family, there had been breaches of Arts 2 and 8; whether there was a breach of Art 6 where the police were given a blanket immunity from negligence actions in respect of the investigation and suppression of crime.
R v HM Coroner for the County of Worcester and the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley ex p UK Detention Services 129
Issue: Whether a verdict of unlawful killing could be left to a jury where there were inconsistencies in and between the evidence of witnesses to the apparent unlawful act; whether causation could be established where an unlawful and dangerous act was one of a number of possible causes of death.
R (Manning and another) v DPP 133
Issue: Whether the DPP was obliged to give reasons for his decision not to prosecute a prison officer for the manslaughter of an inmate; whether the decision was proper.
Zinzuwadia v Secretary of State for the Home Department 143
Issue: Whether the failure to prevent a prisoner committing suicide was negligent.
R v HM Coroner for the County of South Yorkshire ex p Dyson 148
Issue: Whether, where there was no evidence that the deceased had a reason to kill himself but also no evidence of a third party’s involvement in a hanging, a reasonable coroner could conclude that the evidence was sufficient to find beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased had taken his own life.
R v HM Coroner for North Cambridgeshire ex p 149
Issue: Whether an inquest should be re-opened where an allegation was made, but there was no evidence of, a conspiracy in connection with the death.
R v HM Coroner for Reading ex p West Berkshire Housing Consortium Ltd 151
Issue: Whether the coroner’s direction on unlawful killing by reason of gross negligence manslaughter was correct. The appropriate direction in respect of gross negligence.
R v The Coroner of the Queen’s Household ex p Mohamed Al-Fayed, R v The Surrey Coroner ex p Mohamed Al-Fayed 154
Issue: Whether there was an arguable basis for impugning the decision reached by the coroners to refuse to request another coroner to assume jurisdiction so that the inquests into two deaths could be heard concurrently.
R v HM Coroner for Inner London ex p Keogh 157
Issue: Whether a verdict of unlawful killing by virtue of gross negligence manslaughter could be left to the jury when the person concerned had been unaware of the risk in which he placed the deceased.
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