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National Assembly

National Assembly approves new legislation Inquest into Death Bill |15 October 2021

The National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved the Inquest into Death Bill brought forward by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Errol Fonseka, which provides a legal framework for investigations and inquests into non-natural, sudden and suspicious deaths.

Once assented to by the President and it comes into legal effect, the legislation will lead to the repeal of sections 346 to 351 of the Criminal Procedure Code from the Penal Code, which relates to inquiries as to sudden deaths.

The objective of this piece of legislation is to promote justice and identify the causes and circumstances of sudden or suspicious deaths.

At present, investigations into a death case are undertaken under the Criminal Procedure Code in the Penal Code but Minister Fonseka noted that much is lacking with the use of this Code which the Inquest into Death bill is hoping to address.

The bill is also introducing new procedures for investigations of death cases, for example the new bill requires for the corpse to be examined by a doctor or pathologist who will prepare a medical report while the police will prepare a report detailing the investigation such as witness statements and other evidence.

Previous to this bill, the Criminal Procedure Code had tasked the police with writing a report detailing the wounds, bruising and other evidence on the body of the deceased person.

The bill will provide the pathologist or doctor with access to the deceased person’s medical records.

The bill also provides for a judge, magistrate, lawyer or other legal expert to be appointed to carry out an investigation or inquest into the death of an unidentified person, death which occurred during a military or police operation, a death directly or indirectly related to a medical intervention or procedure, death occurring at a workplace or public transport and any death which occurred in Seychelles under suspicious circumstances.

“The government and the Agency for the National Human Resource Development (ANHRD) is considering offering more courses in this field with the aim of having more specialised Seychellois and increase the capability in forensic pathology,” stated Minister Fonseka.

The bill will give the person mandated to undertake the investigation or inquest the ability to clarify only these following doubts:

  • the identity of the deceased,
  • when, where and what is the cause of death.

The person heading the investigation will not have the right to answer any criminal and civil, or have a disciplinary action taken against them.

“This bill also addresses the topic of autopsy, repatriation of bodies, burials and cremation, as well as exhumation of a body,” added Minister Fonseka.

The bill also details in which circumstances an autopsy shall be done.


Elsie Pointe



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