Annual Report 2015-2016

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Overview of the Court

The Magistrates Court of Tasmania is a statutory body created as a court of record by the Magistrates Court Act 1987 section 3A that comprises the Chief Magistrate, the Deputy Chief Magistrate, and the Magistrates.

Magistrates have jurisdiction to hear and determine a broad range of legal matters.

Magistrates sitting in Courts of Petty Sessions hear and determine simple offences, crimes triable summarily under State and Commonwealth legislation, breaches of duty, applications under various State and Commonwealth statutes, and exercise a wide range of appellate and review functions.  Magistrates also hear simple and indictable offences in the Youth Justice Division as well as exercising child protection responsibilities.

Magistrates in the Civil Division hear and determine civil matters to a value of $50,000 or an unlimited amount with the consent of the parties. Matters up to a value of $5,000 are dealt with as Minor Civil Claims and undergo simplified procedures prior to, and at hearing.

Statutory provision is also made for the Court to sit in the following Divisions:

  • Civil Division
  • Coronial Division
  • Youth Justice Division
  • Children’s Division
  • Administrative Appeals Division
  • Mining Division

Acknowledgments

The Court acknowledges the constructive working relationship that the Court enjoyed with the Attorney-General of Tasmania, the Honourable Vanessa Goodwin MLC, during the reporting period.

I express my appreciation to former Chief Magistrates Michael Hill and Michael Brett, all magistrates, the Administrator of Courts Wayne Johnson, Deputy Administrator Roger Illingworth, and all court staff for their dedication and professionalism throughout the reporting period.

In addition, I express my gratitude to the Court volunteers, particularly the Bench Justices,  for the support services they provide to litigants, witnesses and others involved in proceedings before the Court.  The Tasmanian community is indebted to them for their service which is valuable and selfless.

Finally, I acknowledge the outstanding commitment by the magistrates who provide timely access to justice with courtesy, professionalism and great care.

Court Locations

During the reporting year, magistrates constituted courts of petty sessions under the Justices Act 1959, and sat in the various divisions of the Magistrates Court at the following locations around the State:

  • daily court sittings at Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, and Burnie;
  • circuit court sittings at Queenstown, Smithton, Currie, Whitemark, Scottsdale, St Helens, and Huonville.

Personalia

On 21 October 2015 Chief Magistrate Michael Hill retired as Chief Magistrate after almost 30 years as a magistrate.  He was appointed as a magistrate in 1987 and became Tasmania's Chief Magistrate in 2009. I thank Mr Hill for his service to the Court as a magistrate, as Deputy Chief Magistrate, and as Chief Magistrate. I wish Mr Hill a long and happy retirement.  

Magistrate Michael Brett commenced as Chief Magistrate on 22 October 2015.  On 27 June 2016, the Attorney-General, the Hon Dr Vanessa Goodwin, announced the appointment of Chief Magistrate Brett as a justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Justice David Porter.  I take this opportunity to congratulate Justice Brett on his appointment and thank him for his service to the Court both as a magistrate and Chief Magistrate. His Honour’s appointment affirms the important role which the Magistrates Court has in our legal system and the increasingly high regard in which it is held by the profession, the community, and the government.  

Under the Magistrates Court Act 1995, s6(3)(b), I acted in the office of Chief Magistrate between 11 July 2016 and the date of the appointment of Catherine Rheinberger as Chief Magistrate on 24 October 2016.  

This year also saw the appointment of two new magistrates. On 22 February 2016, Magistrate Duncan Fairley was sworn in as a magistrate, and commenced sitting in the Devonport court.  On 29 February 2016, Magistrate Tamara Jago was sworn in as a magistrate and commenced sitting in the Burnie court. I take this opportunity to congratulate and formally welcome both to the Court.  During the current reporting period, ending 30 June 2016, the Magistrates Court was constituted by the following magistrates:

Hobart:                                  

Chief Magistrate M J Brett
Magistrate S F Mollard
Magistrate O M McTaggart
Magistrate C P Webster
Magistrate G A Hay
Deputy Chief Magistrate M F Daly
Magistrate C J Rheinberger
Magistrate S J Cooper

Launceston:                          

Magistrate R J Marron
Magistrate S J Brown
Magistrate S E Cure

Devonport:                            

Magistrate A R McKee
Magistrate D Fairley

Burnie:                                    

Magistrate T Jago

Temporary Magistrate:        

Magistrate R E Chandler

Transfer of Jurisdiction

Since October 2015, the judges of the Supreme Court have made greater use of their power to remit criminal matters to the Magistrates Court pursuant to s308 of the Criminal Code. This power is increasingly used in cases of indictable matters which are less serious and where it would not be inappropriate for a magistrate to deal with them. This transfer of jurisdiction between the courts has significant benefit to the administration of criminal justice because of the increased efficiency with which the magistrates are able to determine these matters.

Review

On 16 June 2016 the Attorney-General announced that she had engaged consulting firm KPMG to report to her by early August on how to improve finalisations, clearance rates, attendances and backlog indicators in the criminal, civil and coronial divisions of the Court. The Review examined the Court’s administrative systems and resources, including in-court administrative arrangements. My understanding is that the Attorney-General has received the Report and a Committee will be convened in due course to consider it.

Court Staff

At the end of the reporting period, 30 June 2016, the Magistrates Court had an actual staffing number of 50.03 full time and part-time staff distributed across the four permanent court registries situated in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.

Bench Justices

The Court once again expresses its gratitude for the voluntary contributions of the Bench Justices who deliver justice to the community by presiding over preliminary proceedings on indictable offences, and in after-hours courts dealing with urgent applications for bail and family violence matters. The Bench Justices’ continuing contribution to the criminal justice system in this State is commendable and invaluable.

The Court’s National Involvement

The Court continues its involvement in national and international forums for the discussion of justice and court administration in a variety of jurisdictions exercised by the Court.  During the reporting year the Court was represented at the following meetings and conferences:

  • South Pacific Council of Youth and Children’s Courts Conference, 21-25 September 2015
  • Judicial Conference of Australia Colloquium, 9 October 2015
  • Council of Chief Magistrates Meeting, 19 October 2015
  • Asia Pacific Coroners Society Annual Conference, 10-13  November 2015
  • Judicial College of Australia Governing Council Meeting, 19 March 2016
  • Council of Chief Magistrates Meeting, 5 April  and 10 August  2016

Professional Development

The Magistrates professional development program continued with biannual conferences held in Hobart on 15-16 October 2015 and in Campbell Town on 8 April 2016.  

A range of presentations were delivered by guest presenters and magistrates. Topics included new developments in evidence, mental health lists, sentencing, family violence and restraint orders, impacts of ‘ice’, child protection and coronial matters. I express my gratitude to the organisers of the conferences and to the presenters who have significantly contributed to the ongoing development of the expertise of the Tasmanian Magistracy.


Caseload

The caseload of the Magistrates Court varies from year to year. For some time there has been a downward trend in the number of matters lodged with the Court. However, over the last two reporting periods there have been increases in lodgements of 9% in 2014-15 and a further 4% in 2015-16. Detailed statistics about the types and numbers of matters lodged appears later in this Annual Report.  

An overview of the Court’s statistical performance during the 2015-16 reporting year shows:

Case Lodgements
 
criminal (adult) 21,912
criminal (youth)1,331
civil (minor civil, civil, residential tenancy)4,083
miscellaneous applications2,104
restraint order applications1,135
family violence order applications1,132
coronial cases568
child protection applications763
administrative appeals30
TOTAL33,058
Fines, Costs, Fees and Levies imposed
 
Fines3,919,860
Criminal court fees813,806
Court fees (civil claims, applications, etc)608,628
Victims of Crime Compensation levies312,720
Appeals Costs Fund levies30,956
TOTAL5,685,970

Problem-solving Courts

During the reporting year the Court continued its activities in the areas of problem-solving justice.  This approach to justice requires courts to acknowledge that rather than simply processing cases, the court system should be concerned with taking approaches in an attempt to address the problems that lead to a person’s appearance in court, and work to change offender behaviour and improve public safety where appropriate.

Currently the Court takes this approach in the following areas:

  • Court Mandated Drug Diversion (CMD) program;
  • Diversion List (DL);
  • Family Violence Lists;
  • Youth Justice Special List. The Court continues to work to improve collaboration between participants in these problem-solving justice approaches, learning from and building on what has been achieved over previous years.

Court Mandated Drug Diversion Program

The Court Mandated Drug Diversion Program (CMD) was introduced in 2007 to divert people, whose offending behaviour is linked to illicit drug use, into drug treatment interventions. The CMD program has capacity for approximately 80 defendants statewide.  Referral to the program under a Drug Treatment Order can involve a range of treatment options depending on what is most suitable for an offender’s needs, but may include some or all of the following:

  • Individual counselling;
  • Group counselling;
  • Random illicit drug testing;
  • Residential rehabilitation;
  • Case management;
  • Detoxification (via the State Alcohol and Drug Service).CMD has been successful in diverting a large group of offenders away from prison into community-based treatment and has had some positive impacts on delaying relapse or a return to crime.

Diversion List

Another key offender diversion program operated in the Court is the Diversion List (DL).  The pilot program commenced in May 2007 in the Hobart Magistrates Court and has now become a permanent feature of Court operations.  During the reporting period the DL was expanded to the Burnie and Devonport Courts. Presently, the List sits three times a month in Hobart and once a month in Launceston, Burnie and Devonport, and is presided over by specialist magistrates (who also preside over general lists).  The Hobart Diversion List also includes persons with acquired brain injuries or cognitive disabilities who commit summary offences.

The DL is a ‘problem solving court’ program that diverts eligible defendants to mental health disability and other welfare services to address the underlying issues of their criminal behaviour.  Using provisions within the Bail Act 1994 and the Sentencing Act 1997, the MHDL seeks to provide an alternative to traditional criminal sanctions where mental illness is causative of the offending behaviour. Persons charged with either a summary offence or a minor indictable offence triable summarily are eligible to enter the List, while persons charged with sexual offences and family violence offences are ineligible.  

Family Violence Lists

Upon the commencement of the Family Violence Act 2004, the Court has been listing separate court sessions for family violence matters to improve its responses and co-ordination with support agencies including specialist police prosecutors, safe families co-ordination unit, legal aid, and court support and liaison services.  

Contest Mention System

The contest mention mechanism puts in place a process which enables a defendant, if they are going to plead guilty to an offence heard in the Magistrates Court, to do so at the earliest possible stage of the pre-trial proceedings. An evaluation of the contest mention system was completed in November 2012.

The evaluation report presented information relating to the effectiveness of the system as a pre-trial hearing for summary offences or indictable offences triable summarily, which aims to facilitate early guilty pleas and narrow the issues in dispute. A copy of the evaluation report is available on the Magistrates Court website.

Specialist Youth Justice Court

In January 2011 the Magistrates Court in Hobart embarked upon a pilot project to trial a new approach to dealing with Youth Justice matters that come before it which has resulted in a Specialised Youth Justice Court Pilot. In 2013 the Court completed and published an analysis and evaluation of the Specialised Youth Justice Court to assess whether the aims of the project have been achieved. The Report is an invaluable resource and usefully guides the practice and approach to Youth Justice in Tasmania.  A copy of the evaluation including findings and recommendations is available on the Courts’ website.

The Court process involves a single magistrate hearing all youth justice cases and the development of a “specialist list” involving a therapeutic, bail-based approach to cases involving abuse of alcohol and drugs, mental health problems, or any other particular problem or combination of problems where the Court might appropriately intervene.  Complex matters are transferred into a “specialist list” in order to receive more intensive supervision by the Court and appropriate case management by the relevant agencies. The purpose of the list is to have one magistrate dealing with all youth justice matters to allow for consistency of approach and hopefully more time to address issues that are relevant to many young offenders, such as alcohol and drug use, homelessness, illiteracy, education problems and many others.

The Specialised Youth Justice Court approach consolidates the problem-solving justice approach in the Court. The Court acknowledges again the assistance of the Tasmanian Police Service in providing dedicated prosecutors, the Director of Legal Aid for providing dedicated legal practitioners, and all those government and non-government bodies who have assisted in building a team approach which should lead to better outcomes for young offenders.

Court User Groups

The Court has established Court User Groups in each of the permanent court locations in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie. The concept of ‘Court User Groups’ had been discussed at previous Tasmanian Magistrates Conferences and had received widespread support from magistrates in terms of strengthening the Court’s consultative processes with a range of court users, including the legal profession and a range of court support agencies.

The Court User Groups assist with feedback on the operation of the courts and provide useful input which can be included in the Court’s strategic planning processes. Regional and relatively informal consultation processes with key stakeholders are also likely to improve the Court’s service delivery, and the status and reputation of the Court within the broader community. The establishment of the user groups builds on the Court’s goals of community engagement and continuous improvement. A wide range of organisations considered major stakeholders of the Court are invited including the:

Law Society of Tasmania

Tasmanian Bar Association

Tasmania Police

Community Corrections

Legal Aid Commission

Victims Support Service

Disability, Child, Youth and Family Services (DHHS), incorporating Child Protection Services and Youth Justice Services

Statewide Mental Health Services (DHHS)

Community Legal Centres

Court User Group meetings were held across the State again in this reporting period and continue to assist in better service provision to court stakeholders.

Criminal & General Division Legislation

Drafting of a new suite of legislation governing the procedures applicable to the Court’s criminal and general jurisdiction continued during the reporting period. The proposed Magistrates Court (Criminal & General Division) legislative package will result in:

  • a new Magistrates Court (Criminal & General Division) Act
  • a new Magistrates Court (Criminal & General Division) Rules
  • a new Magistrates Court (Criminal & General Division) Fees Regulations
  • a new Restraint Orders Act
  • consequential amendments to the Justices Act 1959, the Magistrates Court Act 1987, the Supreme Court (Civil Procedure) Act 1932 and other court-related legislation

The Court’s ability to manage the resolution of cases in a timely manner is dependent on the legislative framework governing the Court’s processes. The current framework is provided by the Justices Act 1959.  The proposed new legislation is expected to help to expedite the criminal litigation process while protecting fundamental rights to access to justice and a fair trial.

The proposed Bill includes provisions for early prosecution disclosure, earlier entry of pleas, fewer adjournments, facilitating the summoning of police officers as witnesses, shorter preliminary proceedings on serious indictable charges, and straightforward methods of evidence presentation.

The legislative package will propose a number of initiatives, including:

  • new case management procedures, standards, and sentence indication powers designed to promote the just and efficient determination of matters
  • a new prosecution and defence disclosure framework for disclosure of prosecution evidence and some defences
  • a new way of commencing criminal proceedings via a “court attendance notice” instead of a “charge sheet” or Complaint
  • new contempt of court powers  and increased powers for the Court to control its own process
  • increased property value thresholds for matters that may be dealt with summarily in the Magistrates Court
  • a clear and contemporary scale of legal costsWhilst it has been a long running project I am confident that a draft Bill will be available for comment and consultation with stakeholders in the near future. When implemented I am certain that it will deliver a more modern and efficient process in the Magistrates Court for those who use the Court’s services.

IT & Technology

The Court’s video-conference facilities increase the community’s access to justice for witnesses and defendants in custody to attend court by video link from any location in Tasmania, interstate or overseas. Video-conferencing substantially reduces the cost of adducing evidence from witnesses residing interstate and overseas. The facilities use large screens installed for evidence presentation.  All persons present in court are able to see and hear these witnesses. Provision has also been made for vulnerable witnesses to give their evidence remotely from a protected witness room in the court building or elsewhere, and the entire video conference system has been integrated into the Court’s digital audio recording system.

During the reporting period a significant project was undertaken to replace the Court’s digital audio recording system in court rooms in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie to ensure that all court proceedings are accurately and reliably recorded. A related project was also undertaken to upgrade and replace hearing loops in court rooms to improve accessibility for court users with hearing impairments.

A redesign of the Magistrates Court website has been undertaken. Phase one resulted in improved display and access to daily courts lists particularly on mobile phones and tablet electronic devices. Phase two of the project will see improvements to content and the way information is presented to make it clearer and more accessible to court users.

Legal Education Initiatives

During the reporting year, magistrates and court officers were engaged in a range of legal education programs that are aimed at improving the understanding of the justice system for a number of groups, such as young lawyers, prosecutors, probation officers, Justices of the Peace, legal studies students, school and community groups.

Legal Practice Course

Since 1997, the Hobart Magistrates have been delivering lectures, and supervising practical courtroom exercises, for university law graduates who are enrolled in the six month Legal Practice Course. This is conducted between February and August each year.

The sessions are supervised by the Court’s Criminal Law Practice and Advocacy unit. Magistrates convene mock courts for two to three hours every week after court adjourns in the afternoon to introduce law graduates to the court room environment in preparation for when they commence legal practice. The graduates prepare and deliver applications, make submissions, deliver pleas in mitigation, and conduct minor contested hearings. The magistrates provide feedback to the trainees on their delivery, content, and advocacy skills.  The exercises form part of the assessment for the unit. Based on feedback from course participants, the Criminal Law Practice and Advocacy unit is considered to be one of the most practical units studied by the trainees as the Magistrates Court is the jurisdiction in which most junior lawyers are likely to practice in the early years of their professional life.  

CourtWatch

As part of the Legal Practice Course each year, the Magistrates Court host trainees for a day as part of our CourtWatch program. On a succession of days over a two week period, small groups of trainees are shown the practices and procedures of the Court in both its administrative and judicial functions so they will be better equipped to comply with the challenges of legal practice.

Sentencing Workshops

Sentencing Workshops were originally developed in 2002 as a joint initiative of the Magistrates Court, the Supreme Court, Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Department of Police and Emergency Management, the Neighbourhood Watch Association, and the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Council. Information about the sentencing workshops can be found at the Sentencing Law in Tasmania website.

Over a number of years, magistrates and officers of the Magistrates Court of Tasmania have conducted numerous sentencing workshops around the State to explain the sentencing process and sentencing principles. Participants in the workshops are then invited to apply the principles to fictitious cases drawn from a sample that occurs on a daily basis in the Magistrates Court.

The workshops have been very well received, and have resulted in a better understanding of the complex task of sentencing, including matters taken into consideration, and the weight to be attached to the wide range of factors relevant to sentencing. The workshops now form a permanent feature of the Court’s strategic plan.

Web-Publication of Magistrates’ Decisions

Most decisions in the Magistrates Court are delivered orally due to the large volume of matters which are dealt with. An increasing number of magistrates’ written decisions and coroners’ findings are available on the internet for access by legal practitioners and other interested persons.

Disability Access to Services

The Department of Justice is developing a new Disability Access and Inclusion Plan Communication Strategy and has formed a Disability Working Group which includes a representative from the Magistrates Court. The Magistrates Court is participating in the Disability Working Group to examine and improve physical access to court buildings and better access to information and services.  

Court Support Services

I acknowledge and thank the range of court support services which are provided, often on a voluntary basis, to assist clients who are having difficulty in understanding the Court process or accessing legal advice or representation.

This year in particular I acknowledge the work of the Law Society of Tasmania, Centre for Legal Studies, and Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania (LACT) regarding the commencement in October of a trial a new duty lawyer service. The service provides assistance to applicants, defendants and respondents who are appearing in the Magistrates Court. Despite the relatively short period during which the service has been operating, I believe it has significantly contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Court in providing access to justice to those who would otherwise have been unrepresented.

Salvation Army - Court and Prison Chaplaincy

A Salvation Army Chaplain attends court on a regular basis to offer help and support through the Court process to offenders, their families, victims, and witnesses.  This service also can be important as a referral service to other programs such as:

  • personal development programs
  • alcohol and drug programs
  • housing and homeless services
  • aged care assistance
  • women's domestic violence services
  • financial counselling.

Migrant Resource Centre

The Migrant Resource Centre assists humanitarian migrants who have entered Tasmania in the last five years when they are involved with the Court system. The Migrant Resource Centre provides the following case management support services:

  • support and advocacy for people proceeding through the justice system
  • point of liaison between Police, Courts, Legal Aid, Department of Justice, Corrective Services and clients
  • support for clients to report incidents to the Police and the Office of the Anti- Discrimination Commissioner
  • education and awareness raising on legal issues for clients
  • capacity building for services who work with culturally and linguistically diverse community members
  • referrals to relevant agencies within the justice system such as Legal Aid, Hobart Community Legal Service, Women's Legal Service, etc
  • Referrals to other relevant government and non-government agencies

The case management services ensure clients proceeding through the justice system, understand information relating to their legal matters and are treated with cultural sensitivity.

Save the Children

The 'Supporting Young People on Bail' Program commenced in May 2011 in the Magistrates Court (Youth Justice Division) in Hobart. An initiative of Save the Children Fund (Australia), the program assists young people, not subject to other court orders, while they are on bail. This program has helped numerous young persons while on bail to not reoffend.

Provision has been made for an interview room at the Hobart Magistrates Court for a Youth Worker from Save the Children to interview the young person and develop a Bail Support Plan. The plan is designed to identify the recreational, educational and vocational/employment goals and aspirations of the young person.  The Bail Plan is presented to the magistrate in court, and progress on the plan is reported at subsequent appearances.

There are four referral streams to Save the Children - the Specialist Youth Justice Magistrate, Youth Justice (DHHS), a Youth Worker identifying a young person in court, or the Police (Early Intervention Unit).

Baptcare and Mission Australia

Other services that actively engage with the Youth Justice Court are Baptcare and Mission Australia offering assistance and support to young people with a range of needs, such as homelessness, alcohol and drug problems, education and training, family breakdown, and mental illness.

Community Legal Services

In each region of the State the Court is assisted by the various Community Legal Services. The Hobart Community Legal Service has offices in Hobart and Bridgewater. Along with the provision of free legal advice, the HCLS operates the Volunteer Court Support Scheme. In Launceston the Launceston Community Legal Centre provides free legal advice and referral to Legal Aid and private practitioners. In Burnie and Devonport the North West Community Legal Centre Inc. provides a similar service. All these organisations assist the Court greatly in preparing parties on how the Court process operates and what is expected to happen in the court room.

Coronial Division

The jurisdiction and operation of the Coronial Division is set out in the Coroners Act 1995 and the Coroners Rules 2006. This report is submitted pursuant to section 69 of the Coroners Act 1995.

Coroners have the power to investigate reportable deaths, fires and explosions. Reportable deaths are primarily those that are sudden, unnatural, unexpected or suspicious. Coroners are also empowered to make recommendations and comment for the purpose of prevention of future deaths.

Coroner Olivia McTaggart continued her role as the Chief Magistrate’s delegate and full-time coroner. Coroners Simon Cooper, Rod Chandler and Duncan Fairley also undertook significant coronial duties. Coroner Stephen Carey retired after 10 years work as a coroner. I thank him for his service in the Division.

I thank the many organisations involved in assisting the work of the Coronial Division. I am appreciative of the work of the Clerk and Manager of the Division, Wayne Johnson and Victor Stojcevski respectively. I acknowledge the crucial role of the State Forensic Pathologist, Dr Chris Lawrence, and his team of forensic pathologists. I also acknowledge the vital support of Tasmania Police, including the many officers of Tasmania Police who assist the coroners in their investigations.

During the reporting period, the Coronial Division became fully established in new premises within the Hobart Magistrates Court building. The consolidation of premises has proven beneficial for efficient case management and communication between all involved in the Division. Currently, plans are underway for the Northern Coroner’s Office to be imminently relocated into the Magistrates Court premises in Launceston.

Deaths in Custody

As required by section 69(2)(a) of the Act, I advise that during the reporting period there were three deaths reported where the deceased died in custody (as defined in section 3 of the Act). These deaths are the subject of an inquest that have occupied 18 hearing days during the reporting period. The inquest is examining the circumstances of the individual deaths and, pursuant to the coroner’s obligation, is hearing evidence relating to the care, supervision and treatment of the deceased whilst in prison. The issues examined at inquest include systems for the safe transportation of prisoners, medical treatment and psychiatric assessments of prisoners, and responses to prison medical emergencies.

Deaths in Care

During the reporting period there were two deaths reported of persons held “in care” as defined in section 3 of the Act. Additionally, during the reporting period two inquests were completed in relation to two further deaths in care from previous reporting periods. The de-identified findings have been published on the Magistrates Court website.

Other inquests and findings

All findings and recommendations considered by Coroners to be of public interest are published on the Magistrates Court website.

During the reporting period, some inquests and findings of significance are as follows:

Lucille Gaye Butterworth: Long-term missing person - precise medical cause of death unknown - homicide - referred to the Attorney-General - person of interest.

Tony Zachary Harras aka Judah Zachariah Reuben Wolfe Mattathyahu: Long-term missing person - precise medical cause of death unknown – homicide.

Jayden Craig Field:  Exiting a moving taxi - death by severe head injury - recommendations on: pre-paid fares and taxi cameras - comments on: alcohol consumption by youth and risk-taking behaviour.

Aidan Andrew Dawson:  Family violence - death of partner by stab wound -recommendations on: amendments to Police Family Violence Manual, audit of police responses to relevant family violence incidents, amendments to the Police Family Violence Management System.

John Ernest Mansell:  Targa Tasmania Rally - death by injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash - recommendations on: safety regulations, alcohol testing, safety assessors, safety equipment.

Joint Inquest into Youth Suicide:  Findings for each of six de-identified children - wide ranging recommendations on youth mental health and suicide prevention.

General

In November 2015, Coroner McTaggart, as president of the Asia Pacific Coroners Society, hosted the Society’s successful annual conference in Hobart.

During the reporting period, the Coronial Division was awarded a generous grant from the Law Foundation to produce a Coronial Practice Handbook for legal and community education, and enhancement of access to justice. The completed Handbook was launched on 27 October 2016.

Court Statistics and Court Finances

Court Statistics and Court Finances (pdf, 219 KB)