Queensland coroner Terry Ryan has reopened his investigation into the death of New Zealand tourist Warriena Wright, who fell from the balcony of Gable Tostee‘s Gold Coast apartment after the pair met for a Tinder date in 2014.
Tostee was found not guilty of murder following a two-week trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland in October – the investigation had been closed after Tostee was initially charged, and police referred it back to the coroner after the verdict.
A representative from the coroner’s office gave a statement about possible outcomes of the investigation to the Sunday Mail, saying:
“The Coroner will be reviewing all the documentation before making a decision whether to hold an inquest. A coroner cannot hold an inquest until the finalisation of criminal proceedings. If, from information obtained while investigating a death, a coroner reasonably suspects a person has committed an offence, the coroner must give the information to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Any charges are (then) a matter for the DPP.”
The coroner has the power to hold an inquest if there is significant doubt as to the causes or circumstances of a death. In this case, however, Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts believes an inquest is unlikely.
Irrespective of this, Tostee would not be charged with murder a second time, as Queensland’s double jeopardy laws only make this possible in certain highly exceptional circumstances, such as the appearance of “fresh and compelling evidence.”
The Courier Mail say that a lesser charge like deprivation of liberty – unlawfully confining or detaining another in any place against their will, or otherwise unlawfully depriving another of their personal liberty – could be recommended.
Source: Courier Mail.