Justice Minister pays tribute to the work of State Pathologist’s Department

Date published: 24 March 2022

Justice Minister Naomi Long has visited the State Pathologist’s Department at the Royal Victoria Hospital site, met with staff and toured the facilities.

Naomi Long said: “I want to place on record my appreciation for the way in which the Department ensured continuity of service throughout the pandemic. This was entirely due to the dedication and professionalism of the State Pathologist and his team. 

 “The work of the Department is often very sensitive and challenging, regularly supporting members of the public at a very difficult time, and I am indebted to all the staff at the Department for the critical role they play in sustaining the Northern Ireland justice system.” 

The State Pathologist’s Department carries out post mortems at the request of a Coroner in cases of suspicious, sudden or unexplained deaths.

The State Pathologist, Dr James Lyness and his team carry out approximately 1500 post mortems per year, providing a vital service to the NI Justice system.   They work closely with the Coroner’s Service and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The Minister saw the specialist homicide suite in the mortuary and heard how it is also used to carry out post mortems involving infectious diseases including COVID cases.  She also heard how the recently acquired CT scanner was being used to enhance the service and potentially provide less invasive examinations.

Notes to editors: 

1.  Media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office via email to press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk

2.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted out of hours on 028 9037 8110.

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