Inquest legal aid denied for family of royal hoax nurse

By Kevin Rawlinson in London

St. Mary's Hospital. Photo / Getty Images
St. Mary's Hospital. Photo / Getty Images

The family of the nurse who apparently took her own life after answering the Duchess of Cambridge hoax call has been denied legal aid for her inquest, according to the Independent newspaper

Relatives of Jacintha Saldanha, who will struggle to meet the legal bills, fear the move will prevent them finding out the circumstances surrounding her death.

They need to find thousands of pounds to have any legal representation at the inquest. Without a lawyer, they fear they will struggle to challenge hospital chiefs on the circumstances of Saldanha being put on reception duty to answer calls from the media on the night the Duchess was admitted.

Lawyer John Cooper, QC, who has been working pro bono up to this point, told the Independent: "It is not just the inquest hearing they need representation for, the family feels they also need to ask if there has been adequate disclosure. It is the Coroner's decision who to call ... the family will not be able to say 'you should have called someone else to the stand'.

"The family believe the case will require some pressing questions of the hospital which the Coroner cannot ask."

Bereaved families are only granted legal aid for inquests in special circumstances, if there is deemed to be a wider public interest or if a relative is required to give evidence.

- Independent

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