Search

Jewish leaders call for senior coroner Mary Hassell to be fired over burial delays

PUBLISHED: 18:58 19 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:11 19 January 2018

Mary Hassell has been senior coroner for north London since 2013

Mary Hassell has been senior coroner for north London since 2013

Archant

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has called for the dismissal of Inner North London’s senior coroner Mary Hassell after a “deeply disappointing” meeting with community leaders to discuss her refusal to respect Jewish burial requirements.

Marie Van Der Zyl, the vice president of the board, said Ms Hassell, who heads the St Pancras Coroner’s Court, showed “no inclination” to address Jewish concerns.

Under Jewish and Islamic law, bodies must be buried on the day of death or as soon as possible afterwards. Both faiths also view invasive postmortems as desecration, preferring CT body scans and autopsies only as a last resort.

Relations broke down in October over a decision by Ms Hassell to withdraw special burial arrangements that were struck three years ago.

Ms Hassell agreed in January 2015 that most Jewish people who die at home in north London could be immediately sent to the Carmel Funeral Home in Stamford Hill instead of going to a public mortuary as is standard. But the arrangement was cancelled in October after a row broke out about delays dealing with a man who had died of natural causes.

Ms Hassell’s jurisdiction covers Hackney, which has the biggest concentration of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Europe.

The Board of Deputies and the Adath Yisrael Burial Society (ABYS) held a meeting with Hassell this morning in an attempt to resolve the dispute and persuade the coroner to withdraw the protocol, issued this month.

Ms Van Der Zyl, together with Sidney Sinitsky, a representative of the Adath Yisroel Burial Society (AYBS), described the meeting as “deeply disappointing.”

Ms Van Der Zyl said the senior coroner had shown little interest in addressing the Jewish community’s concerns during the meeting.

She said: “The early release of bodies for those families who want it – including Jewish families – is a fulfilment of the basic human rights of family life and religious practice.

“Not only is Ms Hassell failing to respect those rights, but she shows no inclination to do so. She has lost the confidence of the Jewish community, and appears to have no interest in winning it back.”

They plan to write to the Lord Chancellor, and Justice Secretary David Gauke, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, asking them to sack her.

Politicians have also stepped into the row with Camden and Barnet London Assembly member Andrew Dismore also calling for Mary Hassell’s resignation.

Writing in the Ham&High, Mr Dismore said: “Our corner of London is amongst the most diverse in the country. Ms Hassell’s insensitive behaviour– probably unique in our local public services- flies in the face of harmonious community relations and cannot be tolerated any longer.

“It is long overdue that she should go. The Lord Chancellor should sack her, if he cares about the reputation of our legal system.”

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

13 minutes ago

The 51-year-old discussed the pride he felt after he watched his son play for England C in March and is delighted to see Josh Koroma called-up too

43 minutes ago

There are plenty of sporting events going on across Lee Valley Regional Park to keep youngsters in London busy during half-term.

5 minutes ago

A record-breaking Haggerston state school checkmated a host of private schools in a major chess tournament.

Yesterday, 17:00

The goalkeeper called time on her career after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with London Bees and hailed the support of her team and the fans

Yesterday, 16:30

The Argentinean said: “Daniel Levy and I have spoken at length about our aspirations for Tottenham Hotspur. We both share the same philosophies

Yesterday, 16:26

Three remarkable women in Hackney have been honoured at the third annual I Love Hackney Mayor’s Civic Awards.

Yesterday, 15:55

For the past year, passing through the London Overground station at Hackney Wick has felt like walking through a construction site.

Yesterday, 15:30

The O’s director of football has had two bouts of depression in the past, but is enjoying life at Brisbane Road and will be there on Sunday

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists