Office of the Chief Coroner v Can. Assoc. of Elizabeth Fry Soc. and The Elizabeth Fry Soc. of Sk. (15January2016) Saskaton, QBG 1640/2015 (SaskQB)

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Note

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench denied applications to close the court room during a judicial review application and for a sealing order of a report into the death of a women offender at the Regional Psychiatric Centre, Prairie Region prepared by a Board of Investigation appointed under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Decision Summary

The woman, a Ms Kinew James, died Jan. 20, 2013 while in custody at the Regional Psychiatric Centre. A coroner’s inquest is scheduled for April 25, 2016.

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan applied for standing at the inquest and was denied. Elizabeth Fry brought a judicial review application of the decision of the coroner to deny it standing.

Crown counsel for Corrections had previously forwarded the Board of Investigation Report (BOI Report) to Crown counsel for the Chief Coroner’s office under trust condition that it remain confidential.

When the judicial review application was brought the Chief Coroner’s Office disclosed that it had the BOI Report but sought the sealing order and sought the order to hold the judicial review application in camera.

The three main arguments of the Chief Coroner’s Office were:

1) Filing the BOI Report would contravene the trust conditions imposed by the Dept. of Justice Canada when forwarding the BOI Report to the Chief Coroner’s Office.

2) Filing the BOI Report may prejudice the process of the subsequent inquest (ie polluting the jury pool with unsworn evidence, confuse the public with information which was opinion)

3) Filing the BOI Report would result in the publication of personal information related to the deceased and others which would not have been available through an Access to Information application and which may be irrelevant to the inquest.

Judge Acton applied the Dagenais/Mentuck test to deny the application.

References

See:Office of the Chief Coroner v Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies QBG 1640 of 2015

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