Mum 'speechless' after inquest ordered into son's death

·2-min read

Tasmania's attorney-general has ordered an inquest into the death of a young man who was struck by a car driven by his partner, despite a judge ruling one was not needed.

Family and friends of Jari Wise campaigned for an inquest after he was killed at Huonville, south of Hobart, in 2020.

Mr Wise was hit by a car being driven by Melissa Oates, who then left him on the road.

Ms Oates was in April 2021 jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, drink driving and failing to stop and assist in an accident.

She was found to not be legally responsible for the death of Mr Wise as it could not be ruled out he jumped in front of the car.

Attorney-General Elise Archer on Thursday directed the coroner to hold an inquest, hours after a Supreme Court judge ruled one would not be in the interest of justice.

Mr Wise's mother Faith Tkalac had launched Supreme Court legal action against the coroner in her push for an inquest.

"I'm lost for words. I'm elated, which is difficult for me to say because this is regarding my ... child," she said.

"It's been such a fight. This has been my every day, my every minute, my every moment."

Ms Archer said she had been monitoring Supreme Court proceedings but had to wait for an outcome before making her determination.

"I am deeply concerned and acknowledge the impact of these proceedings on the family and friends of Mr Wise," she said in a statement.

Ms Archer said she used her powers under the coroners act to direct an inquest.

"I have not made this decision lightly, but it is my sincere belief that this will assist Mr Wise's loved ones to find the answers that they seek," she said.

Coroner Simon Cooper investigated Mr Wise's death and in July 2021 decided not to hold an inquest, partly because it was unlikely to reveal any additional, significant information.

As part of her Supreme Court application, Ms Tkalac claimed there were other witnesses who could provide evidence of Ms Oates threatening to kill Mr Wise on the night he died.

She argued it had never been established whether Mr Wise stepped out in front of the car or whether the crash was deliberate.

In delivering his judgment, Supreme Court of Tasmania Justice Michael Brett said an inquest would not be in the interest of justice.

He ruled the police investigation had been extremely thorough and it became clear evidence did not support the theory Ms Oates was responsible for Mr Wise's death.