What the law says
Section 37 of the Coroners Act, Queensland states:
(4) The Coroners Court may do any of the following-
(a) order a person to attend an inquest, until excused by the court-
(i) to give evidence as a witness; or
(ii) to produce something;
(b) order a person called as a witness at an inquest-
(i) to take an oath; or
(ii) to answer a question.
(6) A person must comply with an order of the Coroners Court, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.
What the police must prove
In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Coroner’s Court required you to attend the Court for an inquest and:
- (a) produce a document/s; OR
- (b) give evidence as a witness and:
- (i) give an oath; OR
- (ii) answer questions; AND
- You failed to attend the Coroner’s Court and produce the document or give evidence as a witness, as ordered.
Not that if you fail to attend the Coroner’s Court when ordered, a warrant can be issued for your arrest and you may be arrested.
It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
Maximum penalty – 40 penalty units.
Penalty unit = $100.00
Which court will hear the matter
Under section 3(5) of the Criminal Code Act Queensland this offence is classed a simple offence and therefore may be heard in the Magistrates Court pursuant to section 19 of the Justices Act Queensland.
It is also possible that your matter will be heard in the District Court.
Possible defences to the offence include, but are not limited to:
- The Coroner’s Court did not require you to attend the Court and produce a document/s or give evidence as a witness.
- You in fact did attend the Coroner’s Court and produced any documents and give evidence as a witness, as ordered.
- You had a reasonable excuse, for example: You had no notice that the Coroner’s Court required you to attend the Court and produce a document/s or give evidence as a witness; OR
- Duress – example: there was a threat of harm to the accused or another person that the accused reasonably believe would be carried out if he/she produced the document or gave evidence as a witness to the Coroner’s Court.
- Identification i.e. the accused was not the offender.