BURNABY - The Chief Coroner for British Columbia has concluded that it is no longer necessary in the public interest for a coroner's inquest to be conducted into the death of Robert Dziekanski.
Mr. Dziekanski died while in the custody of the Richmond RCMP at Vancouver International Airport in the early hours of Oct. 14, 2007.
Shortly after the death of Mr. Dziekanski, the Chief Coroner in place at that time announced his intention to hold a public inquest following the completion of the police investigation into the death and any decisions made by Crown counsel following their review of the case.
In February 2008, the B.C. government announced a two-phase public inquiry into the death of Mr. Dziekanski to be headed by retired B.C. Appeal Court Justice Thomas Braidwood, QC. The first phase examined the use of conducted energy weapons in general while the second phase examined in detail the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Dziekanski. Released on June 18, 2010, the phase 2 report made recommendations for systemic changes and acknowledged changes that had been made since the death of Mr. Dziekanski.
Following the Braidwood Inquiry, the chief coroner of the day was satisfied that all aspects of Mr. Dziekanksi's death had been thoroughly examined and no further public interest would be served by holding a Coroner's Inquest. This decision has now been confirmed by the current chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.
The decision to forego a public inquest has been communicated to Mr. Dziekanski's mother, Zofia Cisowski.
The coroner conducting the investigation has been directed to complete a coroner's report, which will be made available to the public in 2011.
It should be noted that at the time of Mr. Dziekanski's death in 2007, a coroner's inquest was mandatory in all cases where an individual died while in police custody. However, an amendment to the Coroners Act passed by the B.C. legislature in 2010 allowed the chief coroner to forego an inquest in a number of specified circumstances, one of which is that the death in question will be the subject of a commission of inquiry established under the Public Inquiry Act.
The amendment requires that in all such cases, the chief coroner reports that decision to the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, stating the authority on which the decision was based and the reasons for the decision. That step was taken in this case.
Coroner, Strategic Programs