9. What is the function of a Coroner’s Court?
The function of the Coroner's Court is to inquire into the causes and circumstances of death where such death seems suspicious. Family members of the deceased often have the mis-conception that the culprit could be identified and be punished in the same court; however this is not the case.
A Coroner's Court is a Court of enquiry and not a Criminal or a Civil Court. Its finding of the cause of death could be natural causes, industrial / occupational disease, dependency on drugs / non-dependant abuse of drugs, want of attention at birth, suicide, attempted abortion, accident, misadventure, self-neglect, lawful killing, unlawful killing, still birth and possibly an open verdict (An open verdict means the court was unable to reliably establish a cause of death).
However, the evidence presented to the court may be useful in subsequent civil claims for negligence.