Whitstone inquest begins, 18 witnesses to be called

Jury made up of four women, two men. Three self-identify as Aboriginal.

UPDATE: A jury has been selected to begin the coroner’s inquest into the death of Brydon Whitstone last fall in North Battleford.

The selection process went swiftly during the morning and wrapped up by 10:30 a.m. The jury consists of six people: three from the general population and three who self-identify as Aboriginal. Four women and two men comprise the jury.

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The inquest examines the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Whitstone in an altercation with a member of the RCMP. The incident took place on Oct 21, 2017, at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 105th Street in North Battleford.

The inquest began Monday morning at 10 a.m. at Queens Bench Court, Battleford, with coroner Robert Kennedy presiding.

The expectation by Kennedy was that the inquest would take the entire five days with deliberations happening Friday. The indication was 18 witnesses are to be called during the inquest; one that coroner’s counsel Tim Hawryluk confirmed as being on the list is Amanda Wahobin, who was the passenger in Whitstone’s vehicle on the night he was killed.

Testimony is now under way. Stay with the News-Optimist for further coverage of the Whitstone inquest.

Reporter John Cairns is tweeting live from the courthouse. Click on our Twitter link to follow.

EARLIER: As the first day of the coroner’s inquest into the death of Brydon Whitstone last fall in North Battleford got underway, attorney Stephanie Lavallee, representing Whitstone’s family, told reporters they will be picking jury members this morning and this afternoon they will be calling two witnesses. She said it was important to be here so they can get to the truth of what happened on Oct. 21, 2017.

The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Whitstone by a member of the RCMP. The incident took place on Oct 21, 2017, at the intersection of 15th Avenue and 105th Street in North Battleford.

Regina Police Service recently wrapped up the independent investigation into the incident, and it was determined no charges would be laid.

Proceedings began Monday morning at 10 a.m. at Queens Bench Court, Battleford, with coroner Robert Kennedy presiding.

Five days have been set aside for the inquest, from Dec. 3 to 7. While it is taking place in Queen’s Bench Court in front of a jury, it differs from trials in many respects as the main goal is not to assign liability, but to determine how someone died.

Tweeting from the courthouse this morning, News-Optimist reporter John Cairns said the coroner expects 18 witnesses to be called and that he anticipates the inquest will go the full five days scheduled.

According to a news release from the province in November, “the purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when and where that person died and the medical cause and manner of death. The coroner’s jury may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.”

See the accompanying photos by Averil Hall.

© Copyright 2018 Battlefords News Optimist

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