Areas of Law / Inquests

A colleague was involved in a motorway pile-up in which a passenger in one of the other cars was killed. No charges are being brought against any of the drivers, but the police have told my colleague she should attend the inquest. She feels she would have difficulty coping with this: does she have to attend?

If your colleague receives a summons to attend the inquest then she must go, but if the police merely suggested the idea there’s no obligation. Anyone summoned to give evidence who fails to appear can be sentenced to up to three months’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. A coroner has the power to summon as a witness anyone he considers able to contribute relevant evidence. Your colleague can take a solicitor to represent her if she wishes.

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