Coroners are independent judicial officers in England and Wales who must follow laws which apply to Coroners and inquests. Each Coroner has a deputy and one of them must be available at all times to deal with matters relating to the inquests and post mortems.
The interim Senior Coroner for Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire is Mr Paul Bennett. When he is not available, his work is carried out by his Deputy Coroner Gareth Lewis – both are experienced solicitors. Their offices are located at Coroners’ Office, North Wing, County Hall, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP. The office is open from 9:30am to 1:00pm, Monday to Friday.
The telephone number is 01437 775001. E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Out of office hours contact can be made through police stations.
Coroners inquire into deaths reported to them which appear to be violent, unnatural, or of sudden and unknown cause. The Coroner will seek to establish the medical cause of death; if the cause remains in doubt after a post mortem, an inquest will be held.
Not all deaths are reported to the coroner in most cases, a GP or hospital doctor can certify the medical cause of death and the death can be registered by the Registrar of Births and Deaths in the usual way. However, registrars must report deaths to the Coroner in certain circumstances. For example: if a doctor cannot give a proper certificate of a cause of death; if the death occurred during an operation; if the death was due to industrial disease; if the death was unnatural or due to violence, or in other suspicious circumstances.
An inquest is an enquiry into who has died and how, when and where the death occurred. An inquest is not a trial; the Coroner must not blame anyone for the death. An inquest is usually opened primarily to record that a death has occurred and to identify the dead person. It will then be adjourned until any police enquiries and the Coroner’s investigations are completed. The full inquest can then be resumed.
When the Coroner’s investigations are complete, a date for the resumed inquest is set and the people entitled to be notified will be told, if their details are known to the Coroner. Inquests are open to the public and journalists are usually present.
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