Successful appearance for Hall Payne Lawyers at Coronial Inquest
On 11 February 2014 a United Voice member (the First United Voice Member) attended upon HPL for a free consultation about a Courier Mail article containing the sub-heading “A Brisbane jail is facing a high-level probe over suspicions a guard may have set up the murder of a prisoner”, which the First United Voice Member considered to be defamatory.
It quickly became apparent to HPL that, quite apart from the alleged defamation, the First United Voice Member was due to give evidence at a Coronial Inquest the following week and had not received any legal advice or representation to assist him in doing so. This was a particularly catastrophic situation given the serious allegation that had been made at the pre-inquest conference, leading to the Courier Mail publication.
United Voice then engaged HPL on an urgent basis to provide the First United Voice Member with legal advice and representation regarding the Inquest. During the course of preparing for the inquest it emerged that another United Voice member (the Second United Voice Member) was due to give evidence at a Coronial Inquest the following week and had not received any legal advice or representation to assist him in doing so. Ultimately HPL was also engaged by United Voice to act for the Second United Voice Member.
On 19 February 2014 HPL represented the both the United Voice members at the Inquest including by cross-examining several witnesses. The ultimate outcome of the Inquest was as follows:
(a) No adverse findings were made against either United Voice member;
(b) no adverse recommendations were made against either United Voice member;
(c) the Coroner expressly rejected the serious allegation against the First United Voice member;
(d) the Coroner held that the internal disciplinary process engaged in by the employer was adequate such that no further action was required.
This Inquest demonstrates the importance of all workers being a member of their trade union. United Voice was able to promptly react to an extremely serious legal matter on behalf of its two members, at no expense to the members, by engaging the services of HPL who successfully protected the interests of the two members. If not for United Voice and HPL, it is possible that there would have been far more serious consequences for the two United Voice members and they would have been exposed to significant personal expenditure on legal fees.
HPL has acted in Coronial Inquests on behalf of employees and trade unions. If you require any assistance in relation to a Coronial Inquest you should promptly contact HPL Senior Associate, Luke Tiley on 07 3017 2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.