Steve Gray reports
The coroner who declined a full inquest into the suicide of a gay soldier is a Mormon church elder who attacked same-sex marriage in a submission to Parliament, saying it was an unnecessary “social experiment”. Gordon Matenga put the submission before MPs just three months before declining to open an inquest into the death of Corporal Douglas Hughes, 26, who took his own life in Afghanistan. His submission brought a carefully worded rebuke from Attorney-General Chris Finlayson on the involvement of the judiciary in political issues. Mr Finlayson said judges and coroners could make submissions “in appropriate circumstances” on well-established technical legal issues. Mr Matenga’s refusal of the inquest – made public last Friday – also came with a broader order suppressing all details relating to the corporal’s death including the Defence Force court of inquiry report. The Defence Force has now refused to comment on any of the details of the case, saying Mr Matenga’s suppression order means it is bound to silence.
So it turns out that Coroner Gordon Matenga is far from a neutral party in this matter. He made a written submission to the Select Committee on the Marriage Amendment Bill Read more »