Coroners Amendment Act 1999

Link to law: http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Annual%20Laws/1999/Acts/Coroners%20Amendment%20Act%201999.pdf

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Coroners Amendment Act 1999
CORONERS AMENDMENT ACT 1999

1

BERMUDA
1999 : 1

CORONERS AMENDMENT ACT 1999

[Date of Assent 9 March 1999]

[Operative Date 1 October 1999]

WHEREAS it is expedient to amend the Coroners Act 1938:

Be it enacted by The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, by and
with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Assembly of
Bermuda, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Citation
1 This Act may be cited as the Coroners Amendment Act 1999.

Interpretation
2 In this Act—

"the Act" means the Coroners Act 1938;

"section" means section of the Act.

Amends s 1
3 Section 1 is amended by deleting "section 2" and substituting
"section 3(2)".

Amends s 6
4 Section 6 is amended—

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(a) in subsection (1), by inserting immediately before the
word "neglect" the word "wilful";

(b) by the repeal of subsection (3).

Repeals and replaces s 8
5 Section 8 is repealed and the following is substituted:

"Duty to notify Coroner in certain cases
8 (1) Where the dead body of a person is found on land
or in the territorial waters of Bermuda, or is brought or washed
ashore, and there is reason to suspect that that person—

(a) died a violent or unnatural death; or

(b) a death of which the cause is unknown,

every person finding that dead body, and every person having
knowledge of that death, shall forthwith notify a police officer.

(2) Where a person dies in—

(a) a prison;

(b) a senior training school;

(c) a hospital providing treatment for persons
suffering from mental disorder,

the person in charge of that institution, and every person there
having knowledge of that death, shall forthwith notify a police
officer.

(3) Where a person dies in police custody, every police
officer having knowledge of the death shall forthwith notify a
Coroner.

(4) Where notification is given to a police officer under
this section, the police officer shall notify a Coroner of the facts
so notified to him.

(5) Any person who fails to comply with this section
commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine
of $1000.

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Repeals and replaces s 10
6 Section 10 is repealed and the following is substituted:

"Duty to hold inquest in certain cases
10 (1) Where a person has died and it appears to a
Coroner, or he has reason to suspect, that that person died a
violent or unnatural death or a death the cause of which is
unknown and—

(a) that his death occurred in an institution referred
to in section 8(2) or in such a place or in such
circumstances as to require an inquest under
any other Act; or

(b) that his death occurred in police custody, or
resulted from an injury caused by a police officer
in the purported execution of his duty,

the Coroner shall hold an inquest into the death in the manner
required by section 11.

(2) Nothing in section 9 shall be construed as
authorizing an inquest to be dispensed with in a case to which
subsection (1) applies.".

Amends s 11
7 Section 11 is amended—

(a) by deleting from subsection (1) the words from "Subject"
to "the Coroner" where that phrase first appears and
substituting the words "Where under this Act a Coroner
decides, or is required, to hold an inquest, he";

(b) in subsection (2), by deleting from paragraph (a)
everything following the first colon and substituting the
following proviso—

" Provided that the following persons shall not be
so summoned—

(i) a person who is not qualified for, and
liable to, jury service under the Jurors
Act 1971;

(ii) where the inquest is to be held on the
body of a person who died while
detained in an institution mentioned in

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section 8(2), an officer or inmate of that
institution.".

Inserts new s 11A
8 The Act is amended by inserting after section 11 the following
new section:

"Appropriate officer
11A (1) The Coroner may appoint a person to assist him in
the administration of an inquest and the examination of
witnesses, in this Act referred to as "the appropriate officer".

(2) The appropriate officer may at any time put or
cause to be put to any person who is summoned as a juror
under section 11 such questions as he thinks fit in order to
establish whether or not the person is qualified to serve as a
juror at an inquest.".

Repeals and replaces s 16
9 Section 16 is repealed and the following sections are substituted:

"Coroner to notify certain persons of post-mortem
16 (1) Where a Coroner directs a registered medical
practitioner to make a post-mortem examination, the Coroner
shall notify the persons and bodies set out in subsection (2) of
the date, hour and place at which the examination will be made,
unless to do so is impracticable or would cause the examination
to be unduly delayed.

(2) The persons and bodies to be notified by the
Coroner are as follows—

(a) any relative of the deceased who has notified the
Coroner of his desire to attend, or be
represented at, the post-mortem examination;

(b) the deceased's regular medical attendant;

(c) if the deceased died in a hospital, the hospital;

(d) if the deceased's death may have been caused
by an accident or disease notice of which is

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required by or under any enactment to be
given—

(i) to an enforcing authority, the appro-
priate inspector appointed by, or a
representative of, that authority; or

(ii) to an inspector appointed by an enfor-
cing authority, that inspector;

(e) any Government department which has notified
the Coroner of its desire to be represented at the
examination;

(f) if the Commissioner of Police has notified the
Coroner of his desire to be represented at the
examination, the Commissioner.

(3) A person or body mentioned in subsection (2) shall
be entitled to be represented at a post-mortem examination by a
registered medical practitioner, or, if such a person is himself a
registered medical practitioner, he shall be entitled to attend the
examination in person; but the Commissioner of Police may be
represented by any police officer.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit the
discretion of a Coroner to notify any person of the date, hour and
place at which a post-mortem examination will be made, and to
permit him to attend the examination.

Coroner to notify certain persons of inquest
16A (1) The Coroner shall notify the date, hour and place of
an inquest to—

(a) the spouse, including a common law spouse, or
a near relative or personal representative of the
deceased whose name and address are known to
the Coroner; and

(b) any other person who—

(i) in the Coroner's opinion is within
subsection (4) of section 17;

(ii) has asked the Coroner to notify him of
the date, hour and place of the inquest;
and

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(iii) has supplied the Coroner with a
telephone number or address for the
purpose of being so notified.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1)(a) "near relative"
means a parent, parent-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter,
daughter-in-law, brother, sister, step-parent or step-child.".

Amends s 17
10 Section 17 is amended—

(a) by deleting subsections (2) to (4) and substituting the
following subsections—

" (2) The Coroner may adjourn the sittings of the
inquest from time to time.

(3) Without prejudice to any enactment
regulating the examination of witnesses at an inquest, a
person who satisfies the Coroner that he is within
subsection (4) shall be entitled to examine any witness at
an inquest either in person or by his counsel, except
that—

(a) the Commissioner of Police, unless
interested otherwise than as Commis-
sioner of Police, shall only be entitled to
examine a witness by his counsel; and

(b) the Coroner shall disallow any question
which in his opinion is not relevant or is
otherwise not a proper question.

(4) Each of the following persons shall have
the rights conferred by subsection (3)—

(a) a parent, child or spouse, including a
common law spouse, or a personal
representative, of the deceased;

(b) any beneficiary under a policy of
insurance issued on the life of the
deceased;

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(c) the insurer who issued such a policy of
insurance;

(d) any person whose act or omission or
that of his agent or servant may in the
opinion of the Coroner have caused, or
contributed to, the deceased's death;

(e) any person appointed by a trade union
to which the deceased at the time of his
death belonged, if the deceased's death
may have been caused by an injury
received in the course of his employment
or by an industrial disease;

(f) an inspector appointed by, or a
representative of, an enforcing
authority, or any person appointed by a
Government department to attend the
inquest;

(g) the Commissioner of Police;

(h) any other person who, in the Coroner's
opinion, is a properly interested person.

(4A) The proceedings and evidence at the
inquest shall be directed to ascertaining the following
matters, namely—

(a) who the deceased was;

(b) how, when and where he came by his
death;

(c) the particulars referred to in subsection
(5);

and neither the Coroner (subject to his duties under this
Act) nor the jury shall express an opinion on anything
else.

(4B) Depositions of witnesses shall be signed by
the witness and the Coroner.

(4C) The Coroner shall take notes of the
evidence.

(4D) Upon the conclusion of the evidence, the
Coroner shall, where the inquest is held with a jury,—

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(a) sum up the evidence and direct the jury
as to the law before they consider their
verdict;

(b) draw their attention to subsections (4A)
and (4E); and

(c) ensure that a verbatim record is made
contemporaneously of everything done
under paragraph (a).

(4E) A verdict shall be in writing and shall not
be framed in such a way as to appear to determine any
question of—

(a) criminal liability on the part of any
named person; or

(b) civil liability.

(4F) If the jury add a rider to their verdict, the
Coroner need not accept or record that rider.";

(b) by deleting from subsection (6) the words ", after the
jury has been in deliberation for at least one hour,".

Inserts new s 24A
11 The Act is amended by inserting after section 24 the following
new section:

"Rules
24A (1) The Chief Justice may make rules for regulating the
practice and procedure at or in connection with inquests and
post-mortem examinations and, in particular, prescribing forms
and notices and the terms on which a person may be excused
from service as a juror.

(2) Rules made under subsection (1) are not subject to
Parliamentary scrutiny under the Statutory Instruments Act
1977.".

Amends Form C of the First Schedule
12 Form C of the First Schedule to the Act is amended by deleting
all the words following paragraph (b) and substituting the following—

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"Here set out the conclusion of the jury as to the death:

At the end add:

In witness whereof the Coroner and the jurors have subscribed their
names this day of .".

Commencement and application
13 (1) This Act comes into operation on such day as the Minister
for the time being responsible for legislative affairs may appoint by notice
published in the Gazette.

(2) This Act does not apply in relation to a death occurring
before the commencement of this Act.