Magistrate Teresa O’Sullivan has been announced as NSW’s new State Coroner. Her Honour is the second woman to head the jurisdiction in its history following in the footsteps of Mary Jerram AM, who led the Coroner’s Court from 2007 to 2013.
Magistrate O’Sullivan comes to the role with extensive experience including 10 years on the bench in both the criminal and coronial jurisdictions. In 2009 she was appointed to the Local Court bench after a 20 year legal career practicing in roles at Legal Aid in Queensland, the Aboriginal Legal Service in the Northern Territory as well as working in child protection in London, England.
Joining the Coroner’s Court in 2015 as Deputy State Coroner, Her Honour has built a reputation for her compassion and empathy in handling coronial enquiries and inquests.
“I am honoured to lead a team that works tirelessly to make the experience as positive as it can be for those who are experiencing their hardest days as they deal with the loss of a loved one,” she says. “We can all imagine being in their shoes and we work within a culture of kindness.”
Magistrate O’Sullivan has a strong interest in the death prevention function of the coronial jurisdiction and the Court’s role in achieving significant systemic, social and economic benefits for the community as a result of its work. Numerous recommendations at inquests made by Her Honour have been implemented to help prevent deaths. Among them were recommendations she made after hearing the inquest into the death of champion boxer David Brown that resulted in the wholesale safety reform to boxing in New South Wales in 2018.
Magistrate O’Sullivan says she is looking forward to meeting the demands of the Court and facing the challenges and realising the opportunities to drive and shape the jurisdiction in the future.
“Every person working in this jurisdiction is focused on finding answers for bereaved families and finding ways to prevent future tragedies,” she said.
Her Honour will lead the team including five Deputy State Coroners; DSC Harriet Grahame, DSC Carmel Forbes, DSC Liz Ryan, DSC Elaine Truscott and DSC Derek Lee based at the state-of-the-art Coroners Court at Lidcombe.
“The building was also designed with the living in mind, she says. “There are beautiful, peaceful places for families to gather and be supported when they need it most.”
In her role as State Coroner, Magistrate O’Sullivan also leads the co-ordination of coronial services throughout the state.
Above: Magistrate Teresa O'Sullivan, NSW State Coroner.