Coroners Act 1995
Coroners Rules 2006
Rule 11

I, Robert Pearce, Coroner, having investigated the death of

David John HARRIS




(a) The identity of the deceased person is David John Harris, born 5 July 1973;

(b) David Harris died between approximately 12.30am and 9.30am on 24 September 2011 at 1/138A Alanvale Road, Newnham in Tasmania;

(c) The cause of death is acute alcohol toxicity arising from voluntary consumption of alcohol;

(d) No other person contributed to the cause of David Harris’s death.


1. David Harris was aged 38.  Prior to his death he lived with his mother Maxine Harris at 5/31 Lytton Street, Invermay.  He was single.  He worked from time to time as a labourer.  He had 3 children with whom he had occasional contact but was not responsible for their care.

2. Mr Harris was a heavy drinker.  He had been treated by general practitioners including for abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs but he was non-compliant with the treatment.

3. On 23 September 2011 he went to the home of his friends Peter Kopper and Therese Clark.  Between about 3.30pm and shortly after midnight both he and Mr Kopper consumed a large amount of beer and bourbon.  Sometime early in the morning of 24 September 2011 Mr Harris went to sleep sitting against the wall in the living room.  Before Ms Clark went to bed herself she offered to assist him onto the couch but he declined.  She gave him a pillow and covered him with a doona.

4. At about 9.30am or 10.00am the following morning Mr Harris was found to be cold and unresponsive.  An ambulance was called.  No attempts were made to resuscitate him because it was apparent that he had been dead for some time.

5. I am satisfied from the report of the post mortem examination disclosed that the cause of death was acute alcohol toxicity.  Analysis conducted by Forensic Science Service Tasmania indicated the presence of alcohol at the level of 0.316g/100mL.  THC, the active ingredient in cannabis was also found to be present.  Both alcohol and THC are central nervous system depressants.  He had an enlarged heart, possibly caused by abuse of alcohol, with early signs of damage to his heart muscle.  I find that death is likely to have resulted from the combination of respiratory, cerebral and cardiac depression.

Comments & Recommendations

6. I have decided not to hold in inquest into Mr Harris’s death.  The investigation has sufficiently disclosed the identity of the deceased person, the time, place, the relevant circumstances concerning his death and the particulars needed to register his death under the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act.  No other a person contributed to the cause of his death.  I do not consider that an inquest is likely to elicit any further information concerning the issues that I am required to determine.

7. There is no need in this case to make any other comment or recommendation.

I convey my sincere condolences to David Harris’s family.


DATED: 19 September 2012 at Launceston in Tasmania


Robert Pearce