Sarah Krasnostein is a writer, lecturer and a legal researcher with a doctorate in criminal law. She is the author of The Trauma Cleaner, which won the 2018 Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Australian Book Industry Award for Non-Fiction.
What ends questionably – or unexpectedly – ends up here amid small talk and dark suits, plastic cups of tepid water and the faint smell of cigarettes. The Coroners Court of Victoria is brighter than expected. Sun pours through circular skylights, mixing with the glow of light bulbs in the ceiling and the walls. In courtroom one, where Coroner Caitlin English is leading an inquest into the suicide of a 27-year-old man, one wall is mostly window.
The issue before English today is not the cause of death per se, but its circumstances and whether it could have been prevented. The man had attended a public hospital as a mental-health patient just before he died.
English sits alone at the bench under the Court’s insignia, which bears words that are wishes we hold for ourselves and our children: Peace and Prosperity. Though the environment is pleasant – all soft green...