A coroner's inquest beginning Monday will attempt to determine why a 23-year-old man died when Vancouver police attempted to take him into custody almost 20 months ago.

Duncan Leslie Roy Smears died during an incident with Vancouver police on July 16, 2011.

Last year, the B.C. Coroners Service announced it was launching an inquest into the death.

In that announcement, the B.C. Coroners Service said Smears was apparently suffering from some kind of psychotic episode, and police were devising a plan to take him into custody when he died.

A press release issued by the B.C. RCMP on July 18, 2011 says that a distraught man Vancouver police officers were trying to take into custody on the 16th died after inflicting serious injuries to himself with a household object.

Little else is known about the circumstances leading up to the incident or police actions during the arrest.

Spokeswoman Barb McLintock said the inquest will hear from witnesses this week.

"This is a public process and what will happen over the next few days, starting Monday morning, is that the various people who were involved with Mr. Smears, either right at the time, or possibly [in the] past if it's relevant, will testify before a presiding coroner and a jury of somewhere between five and seven people," she said.

The inquest begins Monday morning at Burnaby Coroners Court.

With files from the CBC's Farrah Merali