When someone dies, it isn’t always necessary to report their death to a coroner. Under Australian law, only a reportable death needs to be reported to the relevant authorities and a coroner.
What is classed as a reportable death in South Australia?
According to the Coroners Act 2003 (SA), a death is ‘reportable’ if it:
- occurred in custody,
- is of an unknown cause (no death certificate will be issued),
- happened in a violent, unexpected or unnatural way,
- occurred on a flight or voyage to SA,
- is of a person under the State’s care, or
- happened during or following a medical treatment (depending on the particular case in question).
Coroners’ powers in South Australia
The powers of South Australian coroners are restricted to deaths that are connected to the state of South Australia. At least one of the following conditions must apply:
- the death occurred in South Australia;
- the body is in South Australia;
- the deceased was on a plane or vessel destined for South Australia; or
- when they died, the deceased lived in South Australia.
If the person died outside of the state and another coroner is already investigating the death, the SA coroner does not have to investigate the case. After a death has been reported, the coroner makes the decision as to whether or not there will be an inquest.
Police and coroners
Although anyone should report a death if they recognise it as a reportable death, deaths are usually be reported by the police or a doctor. They will pass on the information to a coroner who will then investigate it.
Get professional legal advice
If you’re involved in the investigation surrounding a reportable death, it’s highly recommended that you engage a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and you comply with the investigation. Professional legal counsel is the best way for you to be fully informed and to save you unnecessary stress.
Get Criminal Law Help Now!
Ask a free legal question in the Criminal Law Forum.
Get legal advice from an Australian Criminal Lawyer near you.