Coroner's counsel Leonard Kim says an inquest into the death of Bruce Moonias, which opened on Monday, will examine how to prevent similar deaths in the future. Moonias died in hospital after contact with police forces in 2006.
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After nearly seven years, Stanley Moonias might finally get answers about his son's death.
A coroner’s inquest into the 2006 death of Bruce Moonias officially opened on Monday in Thunder Bay with the swearing in of a jury.
“(Stanley Moonias) has been waiting a number of years for this inquest so he can put Bruce to rest,” said Christa Big Canoe, counsel for Stanley Moonias. "For them, part of the process of them letting go within the cultural context is having this completed so they can focus on healing.”
Bruce Moonias of Nesktanga First Nation died at the age of 27 on Dec. 11, 2006 at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre after being in custody with Nishnawbe Aski Police Service and the OPP.
Coroner’s counsel Leonard Kim said the inquest will hear from members of different police services, members of the Nesktanga First Nation, as well as various mental health professionals.
“It is not a very complex set of circumstances, but it does inquire into the life of Bruce Moonias and how he came to be in this particular unfortunate set of circumstances,” Kim explained.
The inquest is scheduled for three weeks, and will have at least one somewhat unique feature -- coroner Dr. David Evans agreed to allow the proceedings to be publically webcast.
That request forced Monday’s proceedings to be cut short.
Citing the expense of the equipment, Evans waited until Monday to agree to it after receiving confirmation that none of the parties with standing would raise a constitutional challenge to the jury roll.
The ruling to grant webcasting is unusual, but according to coroner’s counsel Leonard Kim was necessary to alleviate different regional interests.
“It’s something where we need to take into account the reality that we’re dealing with a remote northern community,” Kim explained. “The logistics of having this set up are quite a daunting task, but this is important to the community in Nesktanga and the community in Thunder Bay.”
Webcasting is something the Moonias family was pushing, and they were also hoping to have simultaneous translations available.
That request was denied, but Big Canoe said Stanley Moonias is satisfied that members of Nesktanga will be able to follow along.
“He’s happy the webcasting is going to occur so the inquest is actually public and available especially to the members of Nesktanga where there is extended families,” Big Canoe said.
The inquest is to continue once the webcast is able to be setup, which Evans said would hopefully happen sometime this week.
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