Court guidance provided on pre-inquest review hearings

In Ernest Andrew Brown v HM Coroner for Norfolk & Chief Constable of Norfolk (interested party), the claimant, Ernest Brown, made an application to the High Court for an order that the inquest verdict on the death of his step-daughter, Joanne Foreman, be quashed and that a fresh coroner’s investigation should be held.

In his application, the claimant set out various reasons why he believed that the original inquest process had not been fairly, honestly or properly conducted. He claimed that the original police investigation that took place into the circumstances of the death was inadequate and, in consequence, the evidence presented to the coroner at the inquest was incomplete and inaccurate. The inquest was conducted upon the general mistaken assumption that the deceased had self-injected insulin, which may have been the cause of her death. But neither the police nor the coroner’s officer drew the coroner’s attention to the findings of the paramedic team, which included an entirely normal blood glucose analysis made at the scene. This fact meant that insulin would have played no significant role in deceased’s death. The claimant was also highly critical of the over-familiarity with and a conversation between the coroner and the investigating police authority.

The High Court granted the application to quash the original inquest verdict and ordered a fresh investigation…

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