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Home News Inquest into James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon deaths tentatively scheduled for January 2024

Inquest into James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon deaths tentatively scheduled for January 2024

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Inquest into James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon deaths tentatively scheduled for January 2024
Photo from James Smith Cree Nation website.

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service has tentatively scheduled two inquests into the 11 deaths that occurred on the James Smith Cree Nation and in the nearby community of Weldon on the 2022 September long weekend.

The two inquests are tentatively scheduled for January 2024, the Coroners Office announced on Wednesday. A separate inquest will be held for Myles Sanderson.

Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said the investigation remains a high priority, but was taking longer than expected.

“The Coroners Service was optimistic we would be able to hold the inquests either in the spring or the summer of 2023,” Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said in a press release. “The investigation is very complex and the RCMP is still receiving new information. We need to ensure that all aspects of the investigations are complete before we can move ahead to ensure the inquest is as comprehensive and well-informed as possible.”

Leadership at James Smith Cree Nation has been notified of the tentative timeline for the inquests.

Inquests are designed to establish the events leading to a death, who died, when and where they died, and the medical cause and manner death. The coroner’s jury may make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences.

The Saskatchewan Coroners Act gives the chief coroner the authority to hold one inquest into multiple deaths from the same event.

“We continue to work closely with the James Smith Cree Nation leadership and our Indigenous stakeholders throughout the investigative process, as this remains a high priority for the Coroners Service,” Weighill said. “Once again, I’d like to thank the RCMP for the significant resources they have dedicated to this investigation and their tireless efforts to complete their work as soon as possible.”