LETTER TO THE EDITOR
THE SATURDAY AGE
REPUTATION DAMAGE CONTROL (1/9/2018)
In my opinion, the Victorian Coroner’s Court is dysfunctional. That is, it does not function as it should.
Bullying, bad taste videos and grossly expensive parties at tax payers expense make the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne a toxic work place.
It’s mission to improve public safety by investigating deaths has been well and truly undermined.
This is terribly true where road deaths are involved. One of the results is that Police and VicRoads have too great an influence on outcomes and recommendations from the Coroner after fatal crashes on our roads. VicRoads is virtually immune to criticism where dangerous road environments are involved.
Contributing factors to the dysfunctional state of the Victorian Coroner’s Court seem obvious.
Police conduct fatal crash site investigations. These investigations are too often carried out by experienced highway patrol officers with little or no relevant scientific training. A 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry recommended that a crash data authority be set up independent of Police, VicRoads and TAC.
Police are official advisors to the Coroner which can lead to serious conflicts of interest.
Fatal crash victims' loved ones too often lack the emotional and or financial resources to have meaningful input to inquests or to challenge bad outcomes.
Fatal crash victims loved ones can be bullied by officials more concerned with mitigating reputational damage to the Court than with the Court’s mission to improve public safety.
Damien Codognotto OAM
The Motorcycle Riders Association