Mate didn't mean to kill his friend, says Coroner

THE push that led to the death of Ralph Frederick Zessin at a Gatton pub wasn't criminal, a coroner has found.

After holding a coronial inquest in Ipswich last week into the death of Mr Zessin, Deputy State Coroner John Lock has found his death was caused by an accidental push from his drinking buddy David West.

Mr Lock found Mr Zessin was pushed out the front door of the Commercial Hotel in Gatton on July 24, 2012 by Mr West during friendly banter. Mr Zessin fell backwards and hit his head on the pavement. He died in the Princess Alexandra Hospital on August 6.

Mr Lock said Mr West's actions did not constitute a criminal offence.

"I do not consider there is sufficient evidence to refer this case to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Without analysing in this judgement, the criminal law that might be applicable to this case, the defence of accident simply could not be excluded," he said.

"I accept this is of little comfort to the family of Ralph Zessin. They are clearly distressed about the untimely loss of their relative in what should have been quite benign circumstances, and which went horribly wrong."

During the inquest Mr West told the court Mr Zessin had lost his balance on the step into the pub and as he'd tried to grab hold of Mr Zessin he had accidentally pushed him. Mr Lock dismissed Mr West's version of events.

"This explanation is not supported by any of the eyewitness evidence nor is it supported by the comments made by David West to a number of persons at the time or in the days after that he pushed him but it was an accident," he said.

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