Nikolas Clarke represents the local authority in coroner’s inquest concerning vulnerable elderly man

August 11, 2020

Nikolas Clarke represented the local authority in an inquest into the death of an 84-year old man.  One key issue in the case concerned the man’s discharge from hospital a couple of weeks before his death.

Although the local authority had arranged for him to be discharged to a Residential Placement, he was discharged to his home.  He was left overnight without a care package, heating, lighting, food or drink.  It was unclear whether this had contributed to his subsequent death.

Somewhat unusually, there was a dispute on the facts, with the hospital blaming social services for this error and vice versa.

After hearing the evidence, the coroner took the view that the version of the local authority’s social worker was correct.

The coroner also made a report on preventing future deaths.

The inquest highlights the importance of careful preparation of witness evidence and the need for thorough searches for and consideration of documentation.  It is also a reminder of the difficulties in challenging evidence before the Coroner, where the scope of cross-examination is limited.