Hearing will determine participants for inquest into in-custody death in Manitoba

A standing hearing has been set to determine who can take part in an upcoming inquest into the January 2019 death of a man at a Manitoba prison.

Jeffrey Owen Tait was found lying on the floor of his cell at Headingley Correctional Centre, not moving, on Jan. 29, 2019. He had ripped bed sheets tied tightly around his neck, according to a Tuesday news release from the province.

Emergency medical staff were called and attempted to resuscitate the 31-year-old Winnipeg man, but he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Under the Fatality Inquiries Act, an inquest was called by the chief medical examiner into Tait’s death. Inquests examine the circumstances and events leading to deaths for the purpose of finding out what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar deaths in the future.

A date for the inquest will be set after the standing hearing, which is being held on Nov. 20 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom 408 of the Manitoba Law Courts in Winnipeg. 

A judge will use the standing hearing to decide who can participate in the inquest. Participants in an inquest are allowed to question witnesses.

Individuals and groups are welcome to make an application to be granted standing for any inquest. Those interested should contact Sue Baragar, inquest counsel, at 204-945-2852 or sue.baragar@gov.mb.ca by Nov. 17.

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