inquest(redirected from inquests)
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inquest,in law, a body of men appointed by law to inquire into certain matters. The term also refers to the inquiry itself as well as to the findings of the inquiry. The most usual form of inquest today is that conducted by the coronercoroner
, judicial officer responsible for investigating deaths occurring through violence or under suspicious circumstances. The office has been traced to the late 12th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. to discover the cause of a death that was sudden, violent, or occurred in prison. This inquest is similar to the proceedings of a grand jurygrand jury,
in law, body of persons selected to inquire into crimes committed within a certain jurisdiction. It usually comprises a greater number than the trial, or petit (also, petty) jury, having since early common law days had between 12 and 23 members.
..... Click the link for more information. . Witnesses are called, but a person suspected of guilt is not permitted to make a defense. Natural death, accidental death, suicide, and murder are among the possible findings. Criminal prosecution may follow a verdict of murder or culpable accident.
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an inquiry into the cause of an unexplained, sudden, or violent death, or as to whether or not property constitutes treasure trove, held by a coroner, in certain cases with a jury
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005