Record case load in Coroner’s Court

A record case load in the Coroner’s Court was one of many increases across the jurisdictions in the 2022-2023 Annual Report of the Magistrates Court of Queensland.

The report, for the year ended 30 June 2023, was tabled in Parliament on Thursday along with the annual reports for the Supreme and Districts Courts of Queensland.

Chief Magistrate Judge Janelle Brassington’s overview noted the Coroner’s Court “managed a record case load with 6530 deaths reported for investigation and continued to manage difficulties as a result of the continued impact of COVID-19”.

“Despite this, the court achieved a clearance rate of 91.87 per cent at the end of the reporting period, which is below the national benchmarks and SDS target,” she said.

“The reduced clearance rate is due in part to the 8 per cent increase in deaths reported for investigation, in addition to the record number of cases in the 2021-2022 period.

“New resources for the Court, including three new Coroners, commencing from 1 July 2023 will provide increased capacity to address this increased workload.”


She thanked the State Coroner Terry Ryan and Deputy State Coroner Stephanie Gallagher for their leadership and support.

“I also thank all coroners and staff of the Coroner’s office for the significant contribution to the court.”

In the adult criminal jurisdiction, there was an increase in the number of defendants of 12,623 (8.14 per cent) and an increase of 27,746 charges (8.32 per cent). However the lodgements were below the levels recorded in the years just before COVID.

Child protection applications also increased by 279 (4.75 per cent) – 1.32 per cent higher than in the 2018-2019 pre-COVID year.

While domestic violence applications increased by 3095 (10.84 per cent) from last year, Judge Brassington noted “the longer term trend shows that this jurisdiction has returned to a similar level as seen in the pre-COVID years, from 2015-2016 to 2018-2019”.

During the reporting period, there were four retirements – Magistrates Stephen Guttridge, Robert Davies, Jennifer Batts and Christine Clements. However the Magistrates Court of Queensland welcomed Magistrate Mark Bamberry, Patrina Clohessy, Michelle Howard and Kyna Morice.


View the annual report here

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