New chief coroner takes over inquests in Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Professor Paul Marks Professor Paul Marks

A Hull coroner will be in charge of inquests in Bradford while Coroner Peter Straker is suspended as a top-level investigation continues into complaints about his conduct, it has been revealed.

Professor Paul Marks, who also holds the role of Bradford Deputy Coroner, will now act as chief coroner for the Western Jurisdiction of West Yorkshire, which includes Calderdale and Kirklees.

As exclusively reported by the Telegraph & Argus yesterday, Mr Straker has been suspended from his duties by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, and the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling. The pair, the country’s most senior law officers, will have the final say on Mr Straker’s future once findings of the inquiry by the Office for Judicial Complaints are completed.

Bradford Council, which recruited and employed Mr Straker in June last year, confirmed Prof Marks would “automatically act up” as coroner in the absence of Mr Straker. The Council also said it would be up to Prof Marks to determine who else would be covering as his assistant deputies. Prof Marks, who has worked as a neurosurgon and a pathologist as well as having studied law, has been a Deputy Coroner in Bradford since 2005.

An Office for Judicial Complaints spokesman confirmed it was mid-December when the complaints were first brought to its attention and stressed the investigation was still in its early stages.

Meanwhile West Yorkshire Police, which employs coroner’s officers, said it could not confirm whether it had received or made any complaints about Mr Straker's conduct.

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