A Coroner’s inquest is a court hearing to look into any unresolved issues there may be surrounding the death of the deceased. It takes the form of a court hearing. A coroner’s inquest can be held into a single death, multiple deaths and/ or a fire. Not all investigations will result in an inquest being held but an inquest when held, is a judicial inquiry held in the presence of the Coroner and or the Coroner’s Jury. The process of the hearing is not adversarial like the other courts but rather it is inquisitorial.
There is not prosecutor or defense lawyer present however there will be a senior police officer present who will assist the court. Note that it is an inquiry conducted by the Coroner the purpose of which is to determine the cause of the death(s) or fire that has occurred. The jury will listen to the evidence given by the various witnesses in order to determine the identity of the deceased, the date, place, manner and cause of death of the deceased. At this hearing the Coroner will call witnesses to give evidence of their knowledge of the circumstances of the death. In Anguilla, the Coroner’s inquest is not open to the public.
If an inquest is ordered by the Coroner the next of kin of the deceased will be advised as to the date, time and location of the inquest. Coroner’s inquests in Anguilla are closed to the public, however the coroner may with prior special permission, allow the family and attorneys of the deceased to attend. At the end of the inquest the Coroner’s jury may make a ‘finding’. The finding will be transmitted to the Registrar of Births. Deaths and Marriages for registration of the death and if necessary to the office of the Attorney General for further investigation.