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  • Coroner issues warnings to media

    The Bay of Plenty Coroner is calling for the issues around the reporting of suicide to be urgently addressed. Dr Wallace Bain says coroners, the media and the communities of New Zealand need clearer direction.

    Dr Bain is concerned about a recent editorial in the Medical Journal which greatly criticises the calls for more openness, saying it can lead to copy-cat suicides. He wants the Government to urgently evaluate the recent change to media guidelines and its impacts, however in the past few days Dr Bain has been widely reported commenting on the death of respected lawyer Greg King and has issued warnings to the media about reporting Mr King's death.

    A police spokesman would not comment on a post-mortem examination after the written warning to media about the conditions which apply to reporting deaths referred to the coroner. The position taken by the coroners office contrasts with reports about a recent death in Christchurch where huffing - sniffing gas from cylinders - is believed to have contributed to the death of a 27-year-old Dunedin man at the weekend.

    Police could not confirm whether the man had died from huffing, but Acting Senior Sergeant Dave Scott says "evidence at the scene suggested that huffing was a component".

    The Otago Daily Times then reported that "It is believed he died after inhaling gas from several cylinders which were found near his body in the Dunedin Botanic Gardens on Sunday morning."

    Police have not named the man but say he recently moved to the Dunedin area and had links to the North Island. His death has been referred to the coroner.

    In Greg King's case, Police say they're not treating the death as suspicious, but it has been referred to the coroner, who has placed restrictions on how it is reported.

    There has been no reference to any evidence at the scene although several sources have now revealed that a firearm was found near Mr King's body.
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. courtwatcher's Avatar
      courtwatcher -
      It is hard to get away from the appearance that the random nature of how the law is being applied by all the courts in New Zealand is undermining the rule of law generally. At least the purveyors of justice and secrecy could give us a guide as to what days, if any, the law will be equally applied.
    1. flimflam's Avatar
      flimflam -
      Do we need more awareness, openness around suicide? Ever heard of "if it is not broken don't fix it". The opposite applies too and it is broken.

      In Australia John Howard's government sponsored a survey as to how many Australians were taking their own life, who and why? The findings were that most were male between ages 25 to 45 and that an overwhelming number of them were estranged from their children.

      In 2005 Australia moved from the same draconian Family Court ethos which New Zealand, the UK and the USA had embraced and New Zealand still has.

      The John Howard government then changed the law in 2005. If there are no care and protection issues it is 50/50 access with mum and dad.

      The findings of the survey into suicide were the catalyst for change. This news received an article in the Dom Post about 60mm square. The next week we received a half page article about the reshuffling of the deck chairs on the good ship "NZ Family Court Titanic" and a picture of her Master, Captain Boshier. Captain Boshier was explaining the new "early ice burg warning system" he was having installed and changes to the "life boat to people ratio" designed to make the good ship lighter and faster, it sounded so good.

      Unfortunately the ship mantra is the same as has been heard before, "women and children first". As for the men? Not much has changed really.

      There has been no real consideration or sponsored survey here in New Zealand concerning suicide, why is that? Perhaps it will reveal the same results as those in Australia?

      It is broken so we should find out why.

      Was that 1000 people arriving each week to NZ from Australia? No it's 1000 a week leaving NZ, mostly to Australia. People are going and not just because of wages they are also leaving due to the absurdity of government agencies, courts, lack of faith and transparency in our justice system and in Judges. They are leaving due to the grab mentality of our councils and self policing of our police, lawyers judges and doctors.
    1. Corrigenda's Avatar
      Corrigenda -
      I have to agree with you 120% flimflam. We have a wonderful country that is absolutely STUFFED because of weird laws and policies.
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