Adam Taylor represents the family in Maxwell Bates-Spiers inquest
Adam Taylor represented Vanessa Bates, the mother of the deceased conspiracy theorist Maxwell Bates (formerly Bates-Spiers), at a 3-day inquest into his death in Poland on 16 July 2016. The inquest was held this week at Sandwich from 7th to 9th January 2019 before Coroner Sutton-Mattocks. Adam has acted for the family on a pro bono basis since he was first instructed by the University of Kent Law Clinic in June 2017, and he has provided regular advice, written representations and attendance at PIR hearings prior to the inquest itself, including on issues relating to UK coronial proceedings where a death occurs overseas.
The inquest concerned the death of Mr Bates at the house of Monika Duval in Józefów, near Warsaw, Poland, where he had been staying following his attendance at a conspiracy theories conference. The inquest heard written evidence obtained from emergency services personnel as well Monika Duval and certain of her family and acquaintances, that evidence having been obtained during Polish prosecutorial investigations. The inquest also heard live evidence from GP, drugs rehabilitation, pathology, and toxicology expert medical evidence, UK police evidence, and from Vanessa Bates. The written evidence of Monika Duval and her daughter suggested that Mr Bates took 10 tablets of drugs, fell asleep on the sofa, and was checked on throughout the course of the day before Monika Duval realised that he was not conscious or breathing, and the emergency services were then called, to no avail. It was found by the UK toxicology expert that Mr Bates had potentially fatal levels of oxycodone in his system, and toxic levels of alprazolam in his system. The UK post-mortem identified that he had also been suffering from pneumonia.
The Coroner was highly critical of the conduct of the Polish police who had originally attended the scene of Mr Bates’ death, as they had failed to properly investigate or take control of the scene. Their conduct led to the highly unfortunate situation where Mr Bates’ body was left in the Duval house overnight, which impacted on the usefulness of the eventual post-mortem in England. It was not until the UK pathologist had listened to the evidence at inquest about the events in Poland, and been questioned as to how it affected his views, that a cause of death was eventually established.
Upon hearing representations on behalf of the family, the Coroner acceded to the request for a narrative conclusion. In (non-verbatim) summary, he concluded as follows:
“Maxwell Bates had a long history of the use of drugs dating back to a serious injury at or about the age of 18. Under the care of his GP and a Turning Point doctor in the UK, he was assisted in his detoxification efforts. He travelled to Poland to attend a conspiracy theories conference, in which he was a leading international expert. He obtained and took further drugs, namely oxycodone and alprazolam, and he was suffering from high fever and pneumonia. The pneumonia and the drugs combined to cause aspiration of gastric contents, from which he died.”
The matter received significant press interest at both PIR and final inquest, including articles in the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the BBC, the Sun, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Metro, the Express, and the Huffington Post. A selection of links to relevant press articles are contained below:
Adam was instructed by Hannah Uglow of the University of Kent Law Clinic.