The coroner’s inquest into the fatal explosion at Lakeland Mills has been adjourned to a date still be to be determined in light of information that has been newly disclosed about investigations into the April 2012 blast.
Inquest counsel John M. Orr QC told the inquest that it had come to light that WorkSafeBC had been aware for at least two years of the existence of a separate investigation that had been commissioned by the lawyers for the mill.
The BC Coroners Service had not been made aware of the existence of that investigation until it came out through questioning of witnesses from the mill’s management during the inquest proceedings over the past three weeks. Orr noted that the discovery of the evidence demonstrates the unique strength of the inquest system in which all persons with relevant evidence must answer the questions put to them at the inquest.
Orr explained that it will require time to analyse the material relating to the investigation, to arrange for the key investigator from the Seattle-based forensic engineering firm to testify at the inquest, and then to hear the testimony of key witnesses from WorkSafeBC.
A date for resumption of the inquest will be set as soon as possible.
Coroner, Strategic Programs
BC Coroners Service
250 213-5020 (cell)