Appearing as a witness 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 that person’s arrest.

At the inquest, the various parties involved will be able to cross examine you about what you know or what you may or may not have done. For example, if you were driving and were involved in an accident in which someone was killed, you may be questioned about whether you had been drinking, how you had been driving and what other factors may have contributed to the accident.

You have to answer all questions you are asked truthfully. The only time you will not have to answer questions is if the court believes that your answers are likely to prove that you have committed an offence. In this case, you can either refuse to answer any questions, or apply for a certificate that means that anything you say at the inquest cannot be used against you in a NSW Court.

If you do not receive this certificate, then anything you say may be used against you in court. If you are concerned that the evidence you may give may incriminate you, it is possible to have a lawyer present who can assist you in arguing law and making objections. Please call us on 1300 038 223 if you need assistance from a lawyer who knows what to do in the Coroner’s Court.

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 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.


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