GT Stewart acts for family in their successful appeal to the High Court against the outcome of a death in custody inquest, on the basis that the Coroner in the said inquest failed to properly direct the jury as to their conclusions and elicit the full circumstances of the death. The inquest verdict was quashed and a fresh inquest ordered.
R (G) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London
We represented the sister of a man who sadly took his own life at HMP Pentonville in 2018, three weeks after he was remanded following conviction. A six day inquest with jury was held into his death in 2019. The family pursued a judicial review of the outcome on the basis that the Senior Coroner for Inner North London failed to properly direct the jury on the conclusions they needed to reach on probable causes of death and therefore failed to discharge the states procedural obligations to properly investigate deaths in custody as required by Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court Judge, Mrs Justice Steyn DBE, agreed with the family that there is a need for a coroner to elicit the jury’s conclusions on the central factual issues at the inquest and found that following her summing up, the Senior Coroner “did not identify the central issues, direct the jury that they must consider them or direct the jury that they must include in the narrative any such matters that they determined caused or contributed to..[the] death”. She went onto say “As a consequence, she failed to elicit the jury’s conclusions on the central factual issues at the inquest…and the inquest did not comply with article 2.”
The inquest verdict has been quashed and a fresh inquest ordered.
Stephen Simblet QC and Sarah Hemingway of Garden Court Chambers were instructed in the inquest appeal.