Coronial Assistance Legal Service in action

Caxton Coronial service leaflets in a stand next to a potted plantIn November 2018 Caxton lawyer Klaire Coles acted for the family of Kerri Pike in the inquest into the death of Kerri Pike, Peter Dawson and Tobias Turner before Northern Coroner Wilson over 5 days in Cairns. Rachelle Logan of counsel appeared pro bono for the Pike family.

Kerri’s death occurred in a skydiving accident at Mission Beach in October 2017.  Kerri was a much loved wife to Alister and mother of their eight children. Her death deeply affected the Pike family and the community of Mission Beach.

Coroner Wilson delivered her findings on 30 August 2019.

Coroner Wilson found that the accident occurred because the parachute of the solo skydiver (Tobias Turner) was too small for the container it was packed into. Because the parachute was too small there was not enough tension on the closing loop of the container and this caused the parachute to prematurely deploy when Turner was directly below tandem skydivers, Kerri and Peter.  As the parachute deployed Tobi slowed down. Kerri and Peter were travelling at a significant speed in free fall and fell through Tobi’s deploying parachute and collided with him. The Coroner found that all three people died instantly.

In her (103 page) findings Coroner Wilson made 5 overarching recommendations regarding the compatibility and packing of parachutes and containers. She also made 12 recommendations directed specifically at the Australian Parachute Federation about a range of matters, as well as four recommendations specifically directed at Skydive Australia and two directed at the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The Coroner specifically acknowledged Caxton Legal Centre and the assistance of our Coronial Assistance Legal Service in court when she delivered her findings and in her written findings.