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January 2013 Update
The Coroners Court of Victoria can advise that Victoria Police have now provided all the materials for the coronial briefs of evidence relating to the Black Saturday fires.
Some matters remain the subject of ongoing police criminal investigations and/or prosecutions or civil proceedings. In those cases, the coronial investigations remain suspended until the police investigations and/or other court proceedings are complete. This ensures the coronial investigations do not interfere with the administration of justice.
Churchill fires – A 41-year-old man has been convicted with arson related offences in relation to these fires. An appeal has been lodged by the DPP against the convicted man's sentence. The coronial investigation into these fires is suspended until the criminal process has run its course. Eleven people died in the Churchill fires.
Beechworth/Mudgegonga fires – Former State Coroner Judge Jennifer Coate finalised the investigations into these deaths and the cause of these fires by way of findings without inquests in 2012. Two people died in the Beechworth/Mudgegonga fires.
Bendigo/Maiden Gully fires – The criminal charges against two juvenile boys in relation to these fires were discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in 2011. Victoria Police have provided the briefs of evidence in relation to these fires and new State Coroner Judge Ian Gray is currently reviewing the information in order to determine the direction of the coronial investigation. One man died in the Bendigo/Maiden Gully fires.
Kilmore East fires –Former State Coroner Judge Jennifer Coate finalised the majority of the investigations into these deaths by way of findings without inquest in November 2012. There were 119 people who died in the Kilmore East fires. The direction of the coronial investigation into the cause and origin of the Kilmore East fires will be determined by new State Coroner Judge Ian Gray following the conclusion of civil proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Murrindindi fires – Victoria Police advised the court in June 2011 that they were no longer pursuing a criminal investigation into the cause of the Murrindindi fires and subsequently provided the briefs of evidence to the court in late May 2012. Civil proceedings are now underway the Supreme Court of Victoria in relation to these deaths and fires.
Enquires relating to the coronial investigations into the Black Saturday fires can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org