The mother of an Auckland teenager who killed himself is shocked court officials sent her "graphic" photos of his body where it was found.
She had asked for the coroner's full files on the case, but in an envelope with a cover sheet that said 'Photographs Not Included' were nine or 10 photos of him.
The Ministry of Justice said if someone asked for the full coronial file - and was among those allowed to get it, such as family - they would then get the photos, unless they explicitly said they did not want them.
Her son was fostered out at an early age and died in 2012. The inquest findings were issued this month.
The woman, who wanted to be identified as Ann Johns to protect the identity of her son, said she had not told the ministry not to send the pictures.
"No, I hadn't, because I had no idea that they would be sending them.
"They were graphic and they were horrific and once you've seen that it cannot be unseen.
"I was pretty upset - I was shaking and crying because this is not something I ever wanted to see."
When Ms Johns received the big carton containing the coroner's files, in the bottom was an envelope with a small red-and-white warning sticker on it: 'Caution: Photographs and/or graphic documents'.
Inside was a larger sheet which said in big letters: 'Photographs Not Included' followed by a handwritten note "in bundles sent to all parties".
The Ministry of Justice said in a statement: "We recognise that receiving this information was distressing to the requester. However, we do not have any records of the requestor indicating that she did not want to receive photos.
"Furthermore, scene photographs that may include images of the deceased were placed in a separate sealed envelope with a strong warning on the outside as to their graphic contents.
"It is common for family members to request a complete coronial file once the case is closed."
Ms Johns said she thought it should work the opposite way and photos should only be provided if they were expressly asked for.
"I'd hate to see it happen to other people and I'm sort of thinking, well, has it happened to other people and nothing's been done?"
Ms Johns said a police officer at the coroner's court had told her it was not their policy to give out photos of a the dead person.
She also said that when she had previously received a written post-mortem report it had carried numerous warnings about involving your doctor or a support person before reading, but in this case the envelope with photos just had a single sticker on it.
She said she would make a formal complaint.
The ministry later said it would be changing its policies for the release of coronial files.
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