The court was asked whether evidence of the commission of the criminal offence of causing death by careless driving contrary to section 2B of the 1988 Act is capable of justifying a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’ at an inquest.
Held: The coroner had been wrong to leave the offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving to the jury as possible bases for a verdict of unlawful killing. Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving should not be treated as ‘unlawful killing’ for the purposes of the conclusion of an inquest whatever conclusion may be reached in other contexts. The essence of the inquest is solely to identify the deceased, and how, when and where doied, and the particulars required for registration purposes. It should not seek determination of any issue of civil or criminal liability. The verdict of unlawful killing was available to distinguish between cases where of an accident of some kind even with some blame, and cases where it would be an abuse of language to describe the events leading to death as simply an accident.
Foskett J, Peter Thornton QC
 EWHC 2755 (Admin),  WLR(D) 274
Road Traffic Act 1988 2B, Articles of Eyre 1194, Coroners Act 1988, Coroners Rules 1984 42
England and Wales
Cited – Regina v South London Coroner ex parte Thompson 8-Jul-1982
The court discussed the function of the coroner and his inquest.
Lord Lane CJ said: ‘The coroner’s task in a case such as this is a formidable one, and no one would dispute that; that is quite apart from the difficulties which inevitably arise . .
Cited – Regina v Government of Holloway Prison, Ex parte Jennings HL 1983
J sought habeas corpus to avoid her extradition to California on a charge of manslaughter arising from a motor accident. Her counsel argued that the unlawful killing of another by the reckless driving of a motor vehicle on a road was no longer . .
Cited – Regina v North Humberside and Scunthorpe Coroner ex parte Jamieson CA 27-Apr-1994
The deceased prisoner had hanged himself. He had been a known suicide risk, and his brother said that the authorities being so aware, the death resulted from their lack of care. The inquest heard in full the circumstannces leading up to the death, . .
Cited – Appleby, Regina v (Attorney-General’s Reference (No 60 of 2009) CACD 18-Dec-2009
Each defendant had been convicted of an assault resulting in a death, but where no weapon had been used and where but for the death the charge would have been assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Held: The decision in Furby, while still . .
Cited – Middleton, Regina (on the Application of) v Coroner for the Western District of Somerset HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had committed suicide in prison. His family felt that the risk should have been known to the prison authorities, and that they had failed to guard against that risk. The coroner had requested an explanatory note from the jury.
Coroners, Road Traffic
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.464820