29 Apr 2013

Judge quashes Iraena Asher inquest ruling

9:56 pm on 29 April 2013

The Chief High Court judge has quashed a coroner's finding that a family contributed to the death of Auckland woman Iraena Asher, saying it was unreasonable.

In 2012, Auckland coroner Peter Ryan found that the woman, who was last seen in 2004, drowned at Piha Beach.

The family-of-three took the agitated and distraught woman into their Piha home and looked after her for four hours before she fled into the night and was never seen again.

In his findings, Mr Ryan said the family were good samaritans, but their decision not to call police contributed to Ms Asher's death.

The family challenged the finding, and Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled on Monday that it was unreasonable.

The judge said the finding breached the Coroner's Act and natural justice, because the family were given no warning that their actions would be criticised by Mr Ryan, nor were they given a chance to respond to his comments.