A judicial review relating to a coronial inquest into the death of Lower Hutt woman Wendy Shoebridge has been heard in the High Court at Wellington.
The inquest into her death, and reporting on it, ultimately led to the resignation of three MPs and exposed workplace cultural issues at the Ministry of Social Development.
Shoebridge was found dead on April 3, 2011, a day after she opened a letter from the Ministry of Social Development, saying she had been overpaid $22,403.43 and was to be prosecuted over it.
Later it was found she had not committed an offence.
The Ministry had been investigating a report she had been receiving a sickness benefit as a single person while living in a "marriage-type" relationship.
Lawyer for the Shoebridge family, Gordon Paine, told the hearing they thought coroner Anna Tutton, who took over the case when the first coroner died without releasing a decision, came into the hearing with a "closed mind" about where fault lay.
He also said her mother claimed that audio was switched off after she shared her affidavit via AVL during the inquiry, and she said she still had more to share.
However, the court's counsel assisting lawyer Kim Murray told the hearing the coroner had not invited the woman to say more and had actually made comments to wrap up the woman's testimony.
During this he said the coroner acknowledged sitting through the inquest wouldn't have been easy for the mother, that she hoped some of the woman's questions had been answered and then checked whether there was any other factors counsel wanted to bring up.
Murray said the utility of having another inquest is "virtually minimal" and asked what would happen in that, which hadn't already in the second inquest.
Justice Andru Isac also queried how the outcome of a third inquest would be different if there wasn't anything new.
Isaac said there were "quite a number" of important issues so he has reserved his decision, and said it may be "some time" before this is released.
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