Giving Evidence in the Coroners Court
The coroner has the power to subpoena a person to appear at an inquest if he or she believes that the person is likely to be able to give material evidence to the inquest. If a subpoena to appear is not complied with, the coroner has the power to issue a warrant for the person’s arrest.
At an inquest, the various parties involved will be able to cross-examine witnesses about what they know or what they may or may not have done. For example, if a person was driving and was involved in an accident in which someone was killed, they may be questioned about whether they had been drinking, how they had been driving and what other factors may have contributed to the accident.
A person giving evidence to the Coroner’s Court has to answer all questions they are asked truthfully. The only time they will not have to answer questions is if the court believes that the answers are likely to prove that they have committed an offence. In this case, they can either refuse to answer any questions, or apply for a certificate that means that anything they say at the inquest cannot be used against them in a NSW Court.
If a witness does not receive this certificate, then anything they say may be used against them in court. If they are concerned that the evidence they may give may incriminate them, it is possible to have a lawyer present who can assist them in arguing law and making objections.
It is very important if you do appear at an inquest and are questioned, that you answer all questions fully and truthfully. The penalties for failing to do so can be severe, including up to five years imprisonment.
If you require legal advice or representation in relation to a Coroner’s Court matter or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in corporate crime and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.