High Court quashes Coroner’s decision not to investigate Russian State responsibility in Novichok case

Today, the Divisional Court quashed the decision of the Senior Coroner presiding over the inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess not to investigate the responsibility of Russian state agents for the death beyond the actions of the two men charged by the CPS.

Ms Sturgess died on 8 July 2018 as a result of Novichok poisoning. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced that the Novichok which killed her was the same as that which poisoned Sergei Skripal, his daughter, and PC Nick Bailey in Salisbury earlier in 2018.

The Senior Coroner decided that he would investigate the actions and responsibility for Ms Sturgess’ death of two individuals, given the names of Mr Petrov and Mr Boshirov, who are said to have administered the Novichok. However, he decided he would not investigate whether other Russian officials were responsible.

Ms Sturgess’ daughter brought a judicial review challenge to that decision. The Divisional Court upheld the claim. It quashed the Senior Coroner’s decision not to investigate whether other Russian officials were responsible.

Ms Sturgess’ family, and the claimant, are represented by Henrietta Hill QC and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers, alongside Michael Mansfield QC, and instructed by Marcia Willis Stewart and Hazel Metcalfe of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors.

The judgment can be found here.

Media coversgae can be found here: BBC, The Guardian.