A coroner has apologised after an “awful” error led to a regional news title inaccurately reporting on an inquest.
Assistant coroner Georgina Gibbs has said sorry for wrongly telling an inquest covered by Kent Online that 27-year-old Brandon Licorish had taken a strong opioid before he was killed in a road crash.
Kent Online duly reported the coroner’s claim, which prompted a complaint from Mr Licoricsh’s family.
As a result, editor Joe Walker sought clarification from the Kent and Medway Coroner Service over the issue and it was found Ms Gibbs had erred when making the claim in court.
Instead, it was confirmed that Mr Licorish had in fact been given the powerful opiate fentanyl in hospital after the crash. He died three days later from a traumatic brain injury.
Joe, pictured, told HTFP: “It’s imperative we have absolute trust in the evidence presented in our courts, as accurate reporting is paramount when responding to those questioning the facts of a case.
“But on this occasion the complainants were so certain Mr Licorish would not have taken drugs that we felt compelled to seek urgent clarity from the coroners’ office.
“It’s astounding that such an awful – and entirely avoidable – mistake can be made when the most basic of checks would have established the chain of events. The only saving grace is that the coroners’ office was quick to admit the error so Kent Online could set the record straight.”
In a statement issued to Kent Online, an investigation officer for the Kent and Medway Coroner Service said: “I have spoken with the presiding coroner – Her Honour Judge Georgina Gibbs – and the senior coroner for Kent and Medway.
“Assistant coroner Georgina Gibbs has reviewed this issue and understands that fentanyl was given to Mr Licorish in the hospital. She apologises wholeheartedly for this error, and for the distress it has caused his family and friends.”