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With regard to the fire at Tarras Station and the demand made for inquiry into the action of the coroner and a jury, the Department of Justice has issued a memo, stating the circumstances and giving reasons why no action was taken. In reply to the M'Kenzie petition for the removal of the coroner and a Commission of Inquiry, the Minister stated that it had been considered, and he was advised he had no power to interfere, A petition signed by over 200 persons was sent to Mr Fergus, as member for the district, for presentation to Parliament. It reached him too late last session, but will be presented next session. This petition was not addressed to Government, but to Parliament. The petition to Government was signed by Mr M'Kenzie and his servant only. With respect to the allegation that the coroner, inspector of police, and others were guests of Mr Stronach, the memo. says : " The place where the inquest was held is twenty miles from any hotel where proper accommodation could have been obtained, and it would have been quite impossible for the people concerned to have travelled that distance twice in a day while the inquiry was going on. The [coroner had no power to refuse to receive the jury's rider; and every jury undoubtedly has power to bring in a rider if it chooses to do so. Entering it upon the inquisition instead of on a separate sheet of paper is a mere detail which does not affect the principle; but even were the coroner wrong in receiving the rider, that is no ground for his removal from office. Judicial officers are not removable for a simple error of judgment." With respect to the petition for a Commission of Inquiry, the metro, characterises it as " a novel and extraordinary demand which could not be entertained for a moment, on the ground that it is claiming a right for every private person whoso character has been assailed by proceedings in a Court to come to Government and get a Commission at the public expense to clear him." The document concludes : " No doubt Mr M'Kenzie has been placed in a very unfortunate position. It is only fair to say that the police, after a most searching investigation, have not been able to discover any evidence to connect him with the burning of the stacks."

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Bibliographic details

THE DUTIES OF A CORONER., Issue 7914, 23 May 1889

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THE DUTIES OF A CORONER. Issue 7914, 23 May 1889

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