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Giving Evidence in the Coroners Court

The Coroners of the states and territories have the power to subpoena a person to appear at an inquest if they believe 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. This article deals with giving evidence in the Coroner’s Court.

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 criminal 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.

If you do appear at an inquest and are questioned, it is very important 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. 

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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