CORONERS' INQUESTS BILL.
The other day, at Oamaru, the licensee of one of the principal hotels was charged with a breach of the Licensing Act by refusing to receive upon his licensed premises a corpse found, we believe, m what is known as the Oamaru lagoon, for the purpose of an inquest being held, thereon. The charge was admitted, but it was shown that there were reasons good enough m everything else but m law for the refusal. It appeared that the body was m an advanced state of decomposition, and therefore not only offensive, but likely to prove injurious to the health of persons brought within the range of its unpleasant influence; while, further, it has transpired that the hotelkeeper's objection to receiving it on his premises was strengthened by the circumstances that some time previously he had lost a member of his family through a similar cause. Nevertheless, as the law, as it stands, allows a licensed victualler no option whatever, the hotelkeeper m question was mulcted m a fine. Now, m the interest of not only innkeepers, but of the public generally, it is certainly desirable that the law should be amended by a provision being made that dead bodies shall not be taken to licensed houses if there be any suitable place for their reception within a convenient distance. When the Coroners' Act Amendment Bill was under the consideration of Parliament two or three years ago, a clause to effect this necessary amendment of the law was inserted m the Legislative Council, but for some reason, with which we are not acquainted, was struck out m the House J and we are glad to see that it has now been taken up by the Hon. MrShrimski, who has made it the basis of his. Coroners' Inquests Bill now before the Legislative Council. The BilJ provides that hotelkeepers shall be relieved from the obligation m this respect now imposed upon them when there is a public morgue situate within two miles of the licensed house, and that when there is no building specially set apart as a public morgue the; deadhouse of any hospital situate within the like distance shall be deemed a public morgue. The officer m charge of such hospital is bound to receive any dead body brought thereto, under a penalty of £5 for refusal. Then, again, it is very properly provided that no inquest shall be held on the premises of any licensed hotel if there be a Oouirthouse or Police Station m the neighborhood at which it can be conveniently so held; and further, that an inquest may be held at an hospital, if the medical officer m charge consent thereto. Altogether the Bill will effect a very desirable improvement, and we hope that it may survive the turmoil m which things political are at present plunged.
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CORONERS' INQUESTS BILL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2463, 10 July 1890
CORONERS' INQUESTS BILL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2463, 10 July 1890
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