If the coroner decides that an inquest is necessary after his or her investigations into the death are complete, a date for a full inquest will be set.
The next of kin will be informed of the date by the coroner’s officer. Witnesses will be asked to attend to give evidence. It is not always necessary for the bereaved relatives to attend the inquest, and some prefer not to.
The details of the death may need to be dealt with in graphic terms. Bereaved relatives may wish to take a break from the inquest when the post mortem report is being discussed. Bereaved relatives should also be aware that photographs taken of the Deceased and the scene of death may also form part of the evidence at the inquest.
The great value of the coroner’s inquest is that it places the facts in the public domain and allows people with a legitimate interest to ask questions and find out what occurred. For some relatives an inquest is part of coming to terms with what happened. It is an emotionally draining experience.
In terms of procedure, the coroner will have reviewed the case and will have decided prior to the inquest the evidence to be heard.