Hearing will determine participants for 3 inquests into police-involved deaths in Manitoba

A standing hearing has been set to determine who can participate in upcoming inquests into three deaths.

Inquests will examine the circumstances and events leading to deaths

A standing hearing will be held to determine who will participate in three separate inquests into the deaths of Patrick Gagnon, Michael Bagot and Sean Thompson. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

A standing hearing has been set to determine who can participate in upcoming inquests into three deaths in Manitoba.

The inquests are for Patrick Gagnon, Michael Bagot and Sean Thompson, who, in three separate incidents, were taken into police custody shortly before they died.

Gagnon died on Oct. 25, 2018, after railway workers called Winnipeg police about a man on railway property, acting erratically and chasing them, the provincial government said in a news release.

Police arrived and restrained Gagnon while taking him into custody. He went into cardiac arrest during the restraint process. Resuscitation efforts were attempted and he died in hospital. 

Bagot died on May 21, 2019, after police were called by witnesses who reported a man behaving erratically, stopping traffic and jumping onto a city bus, the news release says.

The transit driver called emergency services and police took Bagot into custody, but during that process, he became unresponsive and, although resuscitation efforts were performed, he died in hospital. 

Thompson died on June 26, 2019, after Winnipeg police responded to call about a break-in and found Thompson sitting nearby and bleeding.

The 30-year-old was reported to be exhibiting bizarre behaviour and admitted to using drugs. While being handcuffed, he became unresponsive. He was rushed him to St. Boniface Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Under the Fatality Inquiries Act, inquests were called by the chief medical examiner into the deaths of the men. 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.

Dates for the inquests will be set after the standing hearing, which will be held Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. in Courtroom 408 at the Manitoba Law Courts Complex in Winnipeg.

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

Individuals and groups are welcome to make an application to be granted standing for any of the inquests. Those interested should contact Mark Lafreniere, inquest counsel, at 204-391-2245 or by Dec. 4.