Inquests

Richard has broad experience of coronial law. He has appeared on behalf of bereaved families and has acted many times for Government Departments in inquests. Richard has appeared in several inquests where the Coroner has appointed Counsel to the inquiry and has frequently appeared alone where other interested parties having instructing Queen’s Counsel.

Most recently Richard was instructed by the MOD in the Deepcut inquest (Sean Benton) arising from a death from gunshot wounds in alleged mysterious circumstances at Deepcut Barracks over 20 years ago. Richard was instructed to represent three former soldiers accused of bullying Sean Benton prior to his death. The case involved applications for special measures, reporting restrictions and cross-examination of a vulnerable witness.

Several inquests have raised issues such as to whether Article 2 is engaged, whether a jury should be summoned. Richard has frequently dealt with submissions involving allegations of unlawful killing, neglect, and Reg. 28 type issues. Richard has attended many PIRs on behalf of interested parties and bereaved relatives and secured the necessary evidence and directions for an effective inquest. In one ongoing matter cross-jurisdictional issues arise involving disclosure from French, Dutch and German military authorities.

Recent notable cases include:

  • Acting for MOD in inquest into sinking of French fishing vessel the Bugaled Breizh. The families and boat owner allege involvement of HM naval submarine in the sinking, denied by MOD.
  • Acting for family in inquest arising from alleged negligent care in a hospital resulting in hypoxic brain injury.
    Acted for three former soldiers in Deepcut inquest (Sean Benton). The three were accused of bullying Sean Benton prior to his death from gunshot wounds, in 1995.
  • 14 day Article 2 inquest into death of prisoner at Winchester prison. Neglect, breach of human rights, negligence, ACCT process.
  • Acted for motorist in 8 day jury inquest into death of undercover policeman in Southampton. Public interest immunity regarding the operation the police were conducting at the time of the fatal accident.
    Article 2 jury inquest involving a prisoner suicide in Exeter prison. Alleged early closure of ACCT, safeguarding, and mental health issues.
  • Article 2 inquest following prisoner suicide in Chelmsford prison.
  • Acted for family in 3 days, jury inquest. Window fitter killed working at height.
  • Inquest following death of prisoner, inquiry into use of prisoner restraints.
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Academic qualifications

  • Warwick University Philosophy and Literature First Class, 2000
  • CPE, Merit, 2003
  • BVC, Very competent, 2004
  • Inner Temple Horace Avory scholar 2004

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Appointed Recorder, South Eastern Circuit 2019
  • Accredited Mediation Advocate
  • Appointed Western Circuit Representative to the Inner Temple Bar Liaison Committee 2013
  • Appointed by Attorney General to Treasury Council Regional Panel 2012
  • Appointed Legal Assessor to the General Council of Osteopaths 2014
  • Appointed Deputy District Judge (Civil) South Eastern Circuit 2015
  • Junior Counsel to the Crown (B panel) from September 2015
  • New practitioner advocacy trainer, Inner Temple

Professional bodies

  • Personal Injury Bar Association

Direct Access

Richard Wheeler is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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