Joined: 23 Apr 2006
|Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 3:30 am Post subject: Aus. former senator accused pedophile
Collins killed himself, says coroner
Former Labor senator and accused pedophile Bob Collins took his own life using a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol, the Northern Territory coroner has found.
Mr Collins died in Darwin last September at the age of 61, three days before he was due to face court on child sex abuse charges dating back 30 years.
The charges included possessing child pornography, indecent assault, carnal knowledge and sexual intercourse without consent.
His death followed a long battle with bowel cancer, which had delayed legal proceedings against him.
In a statement issued today, Northern Territory Coroner Greg Cavanagh said the former senator had taken his own life.
"The cause of death was intentional overdose of prescription drugs with alcohol following upon a background of three years of significant medical difficulties and in the face of upcoming court cases," he said.
"I find that the deceased took the drugs with the purpose of ending his life."
Mr Cavanagh said it was not his usual practice to release findings relating to intentional self-harm.
"However I have decided to release the following information from the coronial findings into the death of Robert Lindsay Collins, because of the intense public and media speculation," he said in a statement.
"I have discussed this with Mr Collins' family who, whilst saddened that this release is necessary, understand that there is a need to clarify the circumstances of his death."
Mr Cavanagh said the former Labor senator and territory politician had died at home on September 21, some time between 3.15am (CST) and 6.30am (CST).
He said he had no criticism to make of the prescribing doctor.
"I find that there was no other person involved in the death, either before or afterward," he said.
In addition to his battle with cancer, Mr Collins suffered serious injuries in a road crash in Kakadu National Park in 2004, shortly before the child abuse allegations became public.
There has been widespread speculation that Mr Collins may have tried to take his own life in the crash.
Mr Cavanagh said today he had considered whether the father of three had intended to end his life then.
"I have looked closely at the circumstances of Mr Collins' 2004 car crash and considered whether that may have been an attempt by Mr Collins to end his own life or an accident," he said.
"I am unable to make a determination on this point."
Mr Cavanagh said he would not hold a public inquest into the death.
"A thorough and detailed coronial investigation was carried out into the death and I am satisfied that the results of that investigation are sufficient for coronial purposes," he said.
"A public inquest into the death would not take the matter any further."
Mr Cavanagh declined to be interviewed on the matter.
Mr Collins was a Labor senator for 11 years and served as a minister in the Hawke and Keating governments.
He had earlier served for a decade as an MP in the Northern Territory parliament, including as territory Labor leader.
In September 2006, Mr Collins was also charged in Canberra over three offences alleged to have taken place in the capital in September 1989.
He faced two charges of committing acts of indecency on a 12-year-old boy and one of sexual intercourse with the child.