Following a report of a death, the State Coroner must decide if it is necessary to hold an inquest to determine the cause and circumstances of the death.
This involves a process to identify the deceased. Visual identification is usually done by someone who knew the deceased well. Sometimes identification may need to be made through fingerprints, dental records, DNA testing or circumstantial evidence.
If the situation necessitates, a doctor or qualified paramedic will certify that death has occurred.
It may also be necessary for a post-mortem or autopsy to be performed to establish the specific medical cause of death.
The processes of identification and post mortem may mean that the release of the deceased to the family’s Funeral Director is delayed.
As part of the investigation the State Coroner may direct police assigned to his office to seek further information. This does not mean that there is something suspicious or sinister about the death. Statements can be taken from witnesses relating to the circumstances of the death and police can also provide statements detailing their investigation. Reports can also be sought from experts in areas such as medicine, surgery, fire, air safety, road safety, work-place safety or engineering.