A “First” for Sandy Lake First Nation’s Access to Justice
In an unprecedented step, the Ontario Court of Appeal orders that its May 6th hearing in the Brody Meekis case be replayed on community TV for the next month.
A copy of the order can be found here.
Although many Ontarians will not realize it, today our province is experiencing a breakthrough in access to public court proceedings. With permission from the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”), the people of Sandy Lake First Nation are rebroadcasting on their local television station a recording of the recent appeal in Meekis v Ontario which was heard by the Court on May 6, 2021.
On May 6th, Julian Falconer and Molly Churchill of Falconers LLP had the honour of appearing at the ONCA on behalf of the Keno-Meekis family of Sandy Lake in their pursuit of accountability in the death of their son. In 2014, four-year old Brody Meekis, the son of Fraser Meekis and Wawa Keno, died at Sandy Lake First Nation of strep throat, an easily curable infection. Subsequent to Brody’s death, the coroner’s office failed to attend at the death scene to investigate, as required under the Coroners Act. The May 6th appeal by the Keno-Meekis family was argued against a lower court judgment granting Ontario’s motion to strike out the family’s claim in its entirety.
Due to Sandy Lake’s limited internet bandwidth, the community operates the local Sandy Lake Television Station to share important information to its membership. On May 24th, Julian Falconer personally delivered a recording of the appeal hearing to the community, flying this important cargo in Falconair. In addition to delivering the recording, Julian met Fraser Meekis and Wawa Keno. Julian took this opportunity to present them with a pouch of traditional medicine in appreciation and support of the family’s continuing struggle as they wait for justice years after Brody’s death.
Although everyone present at the delivery had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, masks and distancing were still used to protect the community. Everyone is looking forward to meeting again as this case progresses and to share some hugs and handshakes in the future!
https://falconers.ca/court-of-appeal-reserves-on-discrimination-case-against-coroners-office/ May 7, 2021
https://falconers.ca/novel-level-of-access-ordered-by-court-sandy-lake-first-nation-to-live-stream-brody-meekis-hearing-locally/ May 5, 2021
https://falconers.ca/death-of-four-year-old-brody-meekis-ignored-family-asks-court-of-appeal-to-let-them-pursue-accountability/ May 3, 2021
https://falconers.ca/falconers-llp-argues-for-meekis-family-to-have-their-day-in-court-in-action-against-coroners/ January 15, 2019