State Coroner Judge Sara Hinchey has been advised that she is the subject of a complaint lodged with the Judicial Commission of Victoria.
In a statement to the media, Ms Hinchey said, in accordance with the commission’s processes, that she is preparing a response to the allegations – the nature of which have not yet been confirmed.
“For the good of the court, my intention is to hand my duties as State Coroner to Deputy State Coroner Iain West while the commission considers this matter,” Ms Hinchey said.
“I have today notified the Chief Justice, the Chief Judge and the Attorney-General of my decision in order to allow the appropriate process to take place. In the interim, I will return to sit in a full time capacity as a Judge of the County Court.
“The work of the Coroners Court is critical, particularly to the many Victorian families seeking answers as they mourn the loss of loved ones. I do not wish for this issue to distract from this vital work.
“I will not be commenting further on the matter, however, I intend to fully engage with the commission in responding to the complaint."
Throughout her career as state coroner, Ms Hinchey has been involved in the investigation of many well-publicised incidents, including last year’s Melbourne CBD tragedy, which saw the deaths of six people after James Gargasoulas drove a car through Bourke Street.