The inquest

Received the pre-inquest review meeting (Nov 25th) paperwork from the coroner’s office this morning. (Sob). Thought it would be useful to outline the process here. (This is my sloppy version. For superb information the INQUEST Handbook is your baby.)

The inquest establishes who and where, when and how they died.  An inquest is held when the cause of death is unnatural or uncertain. There are bog standard inquests and article 2 (of the European Convention of Human Rights) inquests. The latter happen when there’s a question mark over state failure to protect someone’s right to life. Article 2 inquests are more in-depth and can involve a jury. Juries are required when someone dies in state ‘custody’.

The inquest isn’t about blaming people but the coroner can issue a critical verdict. Article 2 inquests can lead to narrative verdicts which expose problems or mistakes made.  A rule 43 report is where the coroner writes to the relevant person/ authority who has power to take action to prevent further deaths. Getting a rule 43 report is a chunky old dent in the reputation of an organisation (basically flagging up their shiteness publicly) and should lead to action.

When things are complicated pre-inquest meetings are held to thrash out the scope of the inquest (type, how wide a focus on what happened, whether there will be a jury and what witnesses to call, etc).

Phew. Think that’s pretty much it. Some other snippets… The coroner makes all these decisions. Inquests are public events. LB’s inquest can’t happen until the police investigations have finished. Sloven will have a legal team present defending them at the taxpayers expense. We have to fund our own legal costs (around £25,000) which thanks to  legendary efforts by the great British (and further afield) public we’ve pretty much raised now. This is bloody brilliant. Though so wrong.

13 thoughts on “The inquest

  1. I can’t believe you have to fund your own legal expenses to find out the truth about the death of your own son at the hands of a public institution. I am glad you have raised the money, but as you say, it is so wrong.

    • It is. I tweeted earlier it’s incomprehensible. And we were ‘lucky’ enough to get expert advice pretty much the day LB died. And managed to follow it. Without that, none of this would be happening. Just shocking. What a fucked up system.

      • And how many have been ‘unlucky’ at the outset and grieve and grieve without any hope of ever getting (potential) access to £25 grand justice….. …..What a fuck, fuck, fuckingly disgusting system.

  2. Especially when we all know that LB should not have died and had those meant to be looking after him had been doing their job properly it would not have happened. So its a total waste of resources – finance, time and most importantly emotions – to have to go through this.

  3. Another heart wringing part of your journey that we all know has to be done to get the justice you want and need and now we all do for your beautiful boy. Oh my how life has dealt you this horrible fate. The only consultation is justice and it still goes on Sara so in this justice you help the poor other dudes still living on the brink.

  4. Ah yes……words, sentences and information which are now SO familiar to us, reading them almost feels like reading about old friends. How weird, strange and just plain wrong that where once we had a happy family, now we have in-depth knowledge of the inquest system. Being one step ahead of you (having had our PIR) and going back for our 2nd and 3rd inquest dates in December I can only tell you – no matter how bad you think it’s going to be, it’ll be so much worse than that. You’ll have to put on the biggest of the big girl pants you own for your day (s) in the coroner’s court and hold very fast to all that you know you are and can be. Paying our own legal costs has all but ruined us financially. All our savings are gone, we’ve both got whacking great overdrafts now and a loan on top of that. Which is why we are now also having to move into fundraising……..on top of that, the coroner (who will soon be YOUR coroner too) has declined us twice for article 2 and told us not to ask for it again, thereby making our fight so very much harder. The system is stacked against families in every way and yet it is US who have suffered (and still suffer) the loss. The current inquest system only serves to increase our pain and suffering.

  5. My thoughts are with you, as we wait to find out whether the coroner will decide whether the death of our brother, Jason, in a rehab unit also warrants an Article 2 inquest. As yet we have no legal representative and no money to fund one. We barely know where to start!

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