Coroner's report delayed; Coke to weigh in

19:34, Aug 15 2012

A coroner’s formal findings into the death of an Invercargill woman who’s partner claimed she died because of the quantity of Coca-Cola she drank, have been delayed because Coca-Cola has applied to present further evidence.

Natasha Marie Harris died on February 25, 2010.

At an inquest in April, Ms Harris' partner, Chris Hodgkinson, said she consumed between 4.5 and 8 litres of Coke a day for several years before her death, and he believed this had contributed to her death.

Pathologist Dan Mornin also told the inquest he believed Ms Harris died of cardiac arrhythmia and it was likely she was suffering from hypokalemia (low potassium) along with caffeine toxicity, which could have contributed to her death.

A ruling from Otago-Southland coroner David Crerar, made public today, says counsel for Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd and Coca-Cola Oceania Ltd have since requested the opportunity to present further evidence, and asked for the release of samples, taken at autopsy, so they could be referred to another forensic pathologist for testing and comment.

A refusal to grant the application would be a breach of natural justice, the ruling says.

The company had until August 31 to submit its report.

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