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Inquiry Into The Death Of Liat Okin

Decision Of Coroner To Open And Conduct An Inquiry Into The Death Of Liat Okin

New Zealand Police National News Release


19 May 2008

Coroner David Crerar has requested Police release the information below regarding the death of Liat Okin.

[1] The death of Liat Okin has been reported to me.

[2] It appears as if Liat Okin died, in late March 2008, after apparently becoming lost on the Routeburn Track near Queenstown.

[3] I have decided to open and conduct an Inquiry into the death pursuant to the powers vested in me by the Coroners Act 2006.

[4] It is timely to restate the fact that the Coroner is the public official responsible for the conduct of Inquiries and Inquests into the causes and circumstances of deaths reported to him or her. Coroners are independent, judicial officers and the inquiries carried out by them are the official, public, judicial hearings pursuant to the Act of Parliament established for this purpose.

[5] In deciding to open and conduct an Inquiry I have had regard to the following matters:

(a) The fact that the cause of the death appears to have been unnatural in nature:

(b) The fact that there exists elements of public concern about the death and the circumstances in which the death occurred.

(c) The extent to which the drawing of attention to the circumstances of the death may be likely to reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in similar circumstances;

(d) The desirability of a full and thorough inquiry into all aspects of the searches.

There has been concern expressed in the media in relation to the adequacy of the Police search and the failure to locate Liat Okin alive and with difficulties with the systems intended to raise an alarm when trampers go missing.

Any criticisms or concerns are premature and will be the subject of a comprehensive investigation at a future Inquest.

[6] Following Section 57 of the Coroners Act 2006 the Inquiry or Inquest has its first purpose to establish, so far as is possible that:

(a) A person has died;

(b) The persons identity;

(c) When and where the person died;

(d) The causes of the death; and

(e) The circumstances of the death;

The second purpose of the inquiry is to consider making specified recommendations or comments that in the Coroners opinion, may, if drawn to public attention, reduce the chances of the occurrence of other deaths in circumstances similar to those in which the death has occurred. These specified recommendations or comments may be made on either or both of the following:

(a) The avoidance of circumstances similar to those in which death occurred;

(b) The way in which any people should act in circumstances of that kind.

[7] In order to assist me in determining these matters and performing these statutory functions, I have ordered that a Post Mortem be performed. This has been completed and documentation, necessary to have the body of Liat Okin repatriated to Israel, has been sent to the appropriate authorities.

David Crerar

Southern Region Coroner

ENDS

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