Family wins right to have expert witnesses at son's inquest

The family of 14-year-old Brian Rossiter have settled their High Court action aimed at having certain expert witnesses give evidence at the inquest into their son's death.

The family of 14-year-old Brian Rossiter have settled their High Court action aimed at having certain expert witnesses give evidence at the inquest into their son's death.

Patrick and Siobhan Rossiter, parents of Brian, brought proceedings aimed seeking an order restraining Cork City Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane from proceeding with the inquest into the death of their son after he was detained at Clonmel garda station in September, 2002.

They had argued that the inquest should not continue unless the coroner agrees to hear evidence from witnesses which the parents wish to call such as two independent forensic scientists.

Today, counsel for the family told Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill that the matter had been settled and could be struck out.

The inquest was due to go ahead on December 4, 2007, but the Rossiters went to the High Court and obtained an order stopping it from continuing pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.

Speaking afterwards the Rossiter family's solicitor Mr Cian Carroll said that as part of the settlement it had been agreed that two pathologists from the UK - Prof. Christopher Milroy a consultant pathologist and professor of Forensic Pathology at the University of Sheffield and Prof. Anthony Busuttil Professor of Forensic Medicine at Edinburgh University - will give evidence at Brian's inquest.

The costs of bringing the proceedings would also be covered. Mr Carroll said that the Rossiters were delighted that a settlement had been arrived at.

However he added that the family still don't know when the inquest will take place, but are hopeful that it will take place in the near future.

Brian Rossiter died at Cork University Hospital in September 2002. He had been arrested for a public order offence on the night of September 10/11, 2002, and had fallen into a coma while in custody at Clonmel garda station. He died in hospital on September 13 from head injuries.

At a pre-inquest hearing on November 2, 2007, to deal with witnesses and evidential matters, Dr Cullinane acceded to a request from the Rossiter family's legal team for the independent forensic pathology report to be introduced.

Dr Cullinane agreed on that day that the legal team representing the Rossiter family could put conflicting pathological evidence to State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy during the inquest.

Earlier this year the inquiry set up in relation to the arrest and detention of Brian Rossiter, conducted by Mr Hugh Hartnett SC, found that Brian's arrest in 2002 was lawful, and was not satisfied that he was assaulted in the course of arrest or when he was in custody at Clonmel garda station.

However the inquiry found there was a failure to investigate all the circumstances surrounding Brian's death.

The inquiry also found there was a failure to accurately record the times at which Brian was given information about the reason for his arrest, the right to consult a solicitor and the notification of his parents and that Brian's detention at Clonmel garda station was unlawful.

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