Saskatoon

Inquest into death of Kinew James pushed back in Saskatoon

The family of Kinew James is looking to get some answers about the 35-year-old's death at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.

James, 35, died at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in 2013

Kinew James died of an apparent heart attack in 2013 while in custody at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.

The family of Kinew James will have to wait a few months to get any answers about the 35-year-old woman's death at the Regional Psychiatric Centre in Saskatoon.

The inquest into James' death — which began Monday at Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench — has been adjourned until later this year.

The adjournment comes after a decision by the courts to allow additional disclosure that will expand the scope of the inquest to include much of James' medical and mental health history while serving her sentence.

"It definitely gives the family more time to go over the packages for disclosure, so I'm happy with it at this point." said James' brother, Cecil James.

The inquest will look at what happened leading up to James' death, including the extent of care she received and a minute-by-minute breakdown of what happened on the night she died.

According to allegations made by fellow inmates, staff at the federal prison hospital ignored James' dying calls for help.

The Winnipeg woman was already in poor health when she transferred to the RPC in late 2012. She had Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and suffered from recurring infections. 

James died of an apparent heart attack in 2013 while in custody at the forensic psychiatry facility.

Request to expand scope 

Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, said the request for the additional package for disclosure — roughly 8,000 pages in all — was necessary to expand the scope of the inquest.

"What we saw very clearly is not only has the family been denied access to the documentation, but essentially information had not been disclosed, in large part, because of all the delays in standing," Pate explained outside of court Monday following the adjournment.

She said it seems that James' health claims were not being taken seriously because of her mental health issues.

"In this situation, had she received the standard of care she was entitled, to which anybody should be entitled, then it was a preventable death."  

With files from CBC's Dan Zakreski

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