A ‘Tragic Incident That Never Needed To Happen’
The inquest into the death of Lena Anderson, 23, who committed suicide in a police vehicle on February 1, 2013 concluded on November 9 with closing submissions from the parties. Lawyers Julian Falconer and Asha James serve as counsel to the NAPS Chief of Police and the NAPS Board.
Among the 27 recommendations, council highlighted the recommendations ensuring policing and service levels in First Nations communities come to be the same as those in non-First Nation communities in the province.
In Falconer’s closing statement, he told the jury the first thing he would do if he was questioning the system is ask if these recommendations have already been made. He said if the answer is yes, and the solutions have been brought forward in previous inquests, and the things that “jeopardized them are identified,” then why do they remain unchanged. “This death was an absolutely tragic incident that never needed to happen.”
“We are seeking a fix to a system that is desperately in need of repair.” Falconer added that inquest after inquest recommendations are made identifying problems then more people die. “This death, the death of Lena Anderson, is a classic example of an absolute waste of life if the inquest jury recommendations from 2009 in the inquest into the Kashechewan fire deaths had been followed, Lena Anderson would be alive today, she died in 2013, because of the very same problems the jury identified in 2009.” Click here to read the full article by Nicole Dixon.
In The News
‘Tragic incident that never needed to happen’ TBNewsWatch, November 10, 2016
Jury makes 28 recommendations in Lena Anderson inquest CBC, November 11, 2016
First Nations police service recommends its own disbanding at suicide inquest CBC, November 10, 2016
‘I couldn’t hold my emotions, I had to leave’ TBNewsWatch, November 8, 2016
Smudging ban at inquest ‘deeply troubling’ for Indigenous families, lawyers say CBC, November 7, 2016
Woman’s death in custody exposes indigenous policing issues The Globe and Mail, November 7, 2016
Emotion surrounds Lena Anderson inquest TBNewsWatch, November 3, 2016
First Nations woman died by suicide in back of police car, inquest hears CBC, November 1, 2016
Inquest into death of 23-year-old woman begins TBNewsWatch, November 1, 2016
Inquest Date into the Death of Lena Anderson Announced Newsroom Media Advisory, October 5, 2016