Bradford coroner suspended over ‘memory loss’ and sending documents in a carrier bag

Coroner Peter Straker. Picture by Simon Hulme
Coroner Peter Straker. Picture by Simon Hulme
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BRADFORD’S coroner has been suspended while a number of complaints against him are investigated.

The Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) confirmed that West Yorkshire coroner Peter Straker, who is based in the Bradford district, cannot sit until the inquiry concludes.

It is understood the investigation is considering an allegation that Dr Straker used a taxi driver to transport confidential documents between courts in a carrier bag.

The OJC is also examining claims Dr Straker acted inappropriately in court and exercised poor judgment. He is alleged to have instructed his deputies not to return verdicts of suicide or misadventure even if the facts supported such verdicts.

A further allegation is that he has problems with short-term memory.

A spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said: “As part of the investigation into complaints made against Dr Peter Straker, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have suspended Dr Straker from office pending the conclusion of its investigation.”

His employer, Bradford council, said it is helping with the investigation and has asked a deputy coroner to temporarily step in to Dr Straker’s role.

A council spokesman said: “We will co-operate fully with the investigation being carried out by the Office for Judicial Complaints, which we hope will be concluded quickly.

“We are unable to comment further on this as the matter is currently under investigation. However we want to reassure people that arrangements are in place to ensure that while this investigation takes place there will be no impact to the service provided by the coroner’s office.”