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George Galloway demands action in Parliament over ongoing coroner suspension
A Parliamentary motion has been put down by a Bradford MP asking why an official probe into suspended Bradford Coroner Peter Straker has no end in sight.
A top-level investigation is still ongoing into a series of complaints about Dr Straker.
The complaints being considered by the investigation team include an allegation that he arranged a cab driver to transport confidential medical and police records in an unsecured supermarket carrier bag between two coroner’s courts.
And it has been claimed he instructed those deputising for him not to return verdicts of suicide or misadventure even if the facts proved such conclusions were appropriate.
Dr Straker was suspended in February while the investigations took place and Professor Paul Marks stepped into his role covering West Yorkshire’s western district. The Office for Judicial Complaints, now the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office, aimed to have completed its inquiry within 90 days, but that time passed in May with still no decision made on Dr Straker’s future.
Bradford West MP George Galloway, (Respect) put the motion in yesterday stating his concern that Dr Straker is still suspended after eight months.
The motion notes that the investigation by the Office of Judicial Complaints was meant to be concluded within 90 days, queries why this continues to drag on, points out the unsatisfactory situation where a temporary coroner continues to administer inquests in Bradford, and while not seeking to influence the investigation demands an urgent conclusion so that justice can be seen to be done and a permanent position re-established in the city.
Mr Galloway added: “It is totally unsatisfactory that an investigation which was meant to take three months has dragged on for eight, with no end in sight.
“I have no wish to rush judgment, but it is surely incumbent on the investigators to explain the delay and to tell the Bradford public when this is all going to be decided. It’s unfair on Peter Straker and having a temporary coroner, however efficient, is unfair on the people of this city. I’ve put down a Parliamentary motion and I’ll be asking the Home Secretary to explain why this apparently relatively simple inquiry is taking so long.”
A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigation Office said: “The investigation into Peter Straker is ongoing and a decision will be made in due course.”