The role of the Coroner

The Coroners main function in investigating a sudden death is to determine among others, the identity of the deceased, the date, place, circumstances and medical cause of death.

An inquest in Anguilla can be held with a jury or without a jury. In both instances witnesses are called to give evidence of their knowledge of the circumstances of the case under investigation. Where the Coroner’s inquest is heard with a jury then the jury will decide on the issues that they are empaneled to investigate. When sitting alone those questions are answered by the Coroner solely.

The Coroner has power to do the following:

  • Summon witnesses
  • Administer oaths
  • Authorising a police officer or other person to enter any place and gather evidence, similar to a search warrant
  • the power to retain possession of the body of a person whose death is reportable to the Coroner. Burial or repatriation of such bodies must be authorized by the Coroner.
  • Authorising or directing post mortem examinations
  • authorising the retention of whole organs (if the coroner is satisfied that the retention is necessary or desirable to assist in the investigation of the manner or cause of the person’s death)
  • Directing the exhumation of a body for the purpose of a post mortem examination.