The Inquest Book:  The Law of Coroners and Inquests

C Cross and N Garnham (Eds) (2016) Hart Publishing Ltd £150
ISBN: 978-1-84946- 649-3 Hardback

How often when needing to quickly advise a client, draft a pithy skeleton argument or get on your feet fast to make submissions on a point of law have you thought to yourself “I know there is a really important case about that but I just can’t remember what it is”, then, even more annoyingly, after eventually dredging the case name from the dark recesses of memory, had to wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of the judgment just to find that really key part? Well if you are an inquest practitioner you can now breathe a sigh of relief, a helpful team of barristers from 1 Crown Office Row have just saved you hours of head scratching by producing ‘The Inquest Book’ and doing most of the hard work for you.

Cecily White acted for Essex Police in the Article 2 inquest into the tragic death of Eystna Blunnie, who was killed by her former partner.  The jury made no criticisms of the police response and returned a conclusion of unlawful killing.

Ms Blunnie’s father, Kevin Blunnie, commented:

“We feel a full and proper investigation into the facts around our daughter and her unborn child’s death have now been carried out.”

Click here for coverage from the BBC.

On 26 June 2015 38 people were killed in a terrorist attack whilst on holiday in Sousse, Tunisia.   Claire Watson has been retained to act in this inquest held at the Royal Courts of Justice which is expected to last for seven weeks.  The Metropolitan Police are assisting the Coroner, HHJ Loraine-Smith, with his investigation into the deaths of the 30 British nationals who died.

Claire also represented the Metropolitan Police in the inquests relating to the In Amenas terrorist attacks in January 2013.

Bridget Dolan represented the parents of Sally Mays at the inquest into her death in October 2015.  The Senior Coroner for Hull found that the decision by senior psychiatric nursing staff to refuse Sally a hospital bed when she was in obvious need of admission, was an “unconscionable and quixotic decision” following a “lamentable”,  “perfunctory and slipshod assessment” of Sally.  

http://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/Sally-Mays-death-Coroner-s-damning-verdict-NHS/story-28042552-detail/story.html 

The inquest into the death of Casey Garrett, seven hours after his birth at Bedford Hospital, concluded on 21 July 2015.

Senior Coroner Thomas Osborne delivered a narrative verdict, concluding: “Casey Garrett was born on 10 September 2014. Prior to his delivery at Bedford Hospital there were a number of failures to recognise that his condition was deteriorating and there was a failure to escalate the levels of care so as to expedite his delivery. These failures resulted in a lost opportunity to deliver him earlier and avoid his death. He died on 11 September 2015 at 07:10 from perinatal asphyxia.”

The inquest examined the standard of care provided including the midwifery team’s ability to interpret foetal heart rates.    

Sebastian Naughton was instructed by Julie Say of Hodge Jones & Allen, who commented, “this has been one of the most open inquests that I have attended and one that has been a force for change with all interested parties working toward improving patient safety”.

The Coroner is to write a Prevention of Future Deaths letter to the body responsible for training student midwives, querying whether Bedford Hospital is an appropriate place to train students in the light of the series of failings the inquest identified.

Bridget Dolan represented the parents of Keira Lee at the inquest following the death of their 2-year-old daughter after neuro-surgery.  The Senior Coroner found that at an earlier medical review obvious signs of Keira’s brain tumour had been missed and the consequential delay in diagnosis more than minimally contributed to her death.   The Lee family is raising awareness of childhood brain tumours at: loveukeira.co.uk  For more details see: https://rosslydall.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/two-year-old-girl-died-after-doctor-failed-to-order-brain-scan-coroner-rules/.    

 

His Hon Brian Barker CBE, Q.C. has appointed Bridget Dolan as Counsel to the Inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James at Deepcut Barracks.

The inquest is listed for up to 6 weeks, to commence in February 2016.  The next hearing will be a further pre-inquest review to be held on 10th September at Woking Coroner's Court.

A jury has returned a verdict of misadventure in the inquest into the death of Habib Ullah.  

Mr Ullah was stopped by officers in order to search him for drugs in July 2008.  During the course of the search Mr Ullah concealed a package of drugs in his mouth and officers restrained him in order to try to retrieve it.  Following the restraint Mr Ullah collapsed and later died in hospital.  The package was recovered from his throat.  

The Cardiff inquest concerning kidney transplantations infected by parasitic worms in which George Hugh-Jones QC and Elliot Gold acted has concluded with a narrative verdict that both the deaths were the unintended consequences of necessary medical intervention.

Serjeants’ Inn Chambers is instructed by two parties in the ongoing, high-profile inquest into the death of two patients who received kidneys from a donor who had meningo-encephalitis of an unknown origin and subsequently died due to the transmission of a very rare parasitic worm, Halicephalobus gingivalis.