Conduct investigation coroner quits

This Is Lancashire: Peter Straker is accused of transporting confidential medical records in a plastic bag in a taxi Peter Straker is accused of transporting confidential medical records in a plastic bag in a taxi

A suspended coroner accused of using a cab to transport confidential medical records in a plastic bag has resigned.

West Yorkshire coroner Peter Straker, who was based in the Bradford district, was placed under investigation after several allegations were made against him.

These included that he used a taxi driver to transport confidential documents between courts in a carrier bag and he instructed his deputies not to return verdicts of suicide or misadventure even if the facts supported it.

He was also accused of acting inappropriately in court, exercising poor judgement and having problems with his short-term memory.

But with the probe into his actions nearing an end, Mr Straker, who has been on full pay since his suspension, has resigned from his role.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said the investigation, which started in February last year, would still continue and a report would shortly be submitted with their findings.

A spokesperson for the JCIO said: "Mr Straker is the subject of an investigation by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, and this will continue despite his resignation.

"The investigation has now concluded and a report will shortly be submitted to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice for their consideration."

Suzan Hemingway, Bradford Council city solicitor, said: "The council has been informed that Peter Straker, coroner for West Yorkshire (Western Area), has resigned.

"The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office has been conducting an investigation into the Coroner's conduct and it was the decision of the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor to suspend him on full pay during this investigation.

"Bradford Council, along with Calderdale Council and Kirklees Council, funds the district coroner's service but the investigation, its processes and outcomes are not in the Council's jurisdiction."

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