Coroner Cleland: what he didn’t know
The Coroner’s Court of South Australia is a court which has exclusive jurisdiction over the remains of a person and the power to make findings in respect of the cause of death of a person in South Australia, a state of Australia. Wikipedia.
exclusive: restricted to the person, group, or area concerned.
jurisdiction: the official power to make legal decisions and judgements.
Coroner Cleland had the power to call whoever he wanted in the Somerton Man case, provided they had a connection reasonable enough to be considered relevant in his making of a decision. That, to me, means the coroner could overrule the police in the instance where they considered an individual was not a potential witness and he did.
Like Mr Francis.
Francis existed: he was said to be the individual who handed Detective Leane the missing Rubaiyat a couple of weeks after the inquest closed, the book that led them to Jessica Harkness, Alf Boxall and the Clifton Gardens Hotel.
If Francis had handed it in earlier, Coroner Cleland would have had to consider calling three more witnesses, at least.
Jessica, Boxall and Francis himself.
But if Francis was an agency rather than an individual – a Commonwealth agency charged with national security – then the timing of the release of the Rubaiyat may well have been determined by them, and the request for anonymity better understood.
They may also have been the ones who overlaid the photo of the code on the back-cover code with ink, making it unreadable.
Until Gordon Cramer came along.