Coroner declines to refer drowning case to DPP

A CORONER has declined to refer the case of a 14-year-old girl who drowned in Lake Macquarie to the Director of Public Prosecutions, after ruling that there was insufficient evidence for a charge of manslaughter by criminal negligence to be considered against the teenager in charge of the boat.

Courtney Simon drowned on June 11 last year when she and two friends were caught in rough water while travelling to Elizabeth Island in a 12-foot tinny, Newcastle Coroners Court heard.

The inquest previously heard that Ms Simon had reservations about going out on the water due to the weather.

Deputy State Coroner Mark Buscombe considered whether to refer the case to the DPP, but said this afternoon that the evidence did not satisfy a number of legal tests.

He also declined to make recommendations that water safety laws regarding life jackets be tightened.

Outside the court, Ms Simon’s mother Cathy said she was angered by the findings.

Full story in tomorrow’s Newcastle Herald.

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