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Silverfox inquest back in court

The coroner's inquest into Raymond Silverfox's death was unfair, biased and done improperly, argued the lawyer for Silverfox's family this week.

The coroner’s inquest into Raymond Silverfox’s death was unfair, biased and done improperly, argued the lawyer for Silverfox’s family this week.

Silverfox, a Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation man, died in police custody in 2008 after hours of vomiting and defecating in his cell while officers ignored and ridiculed him.

On Wednesday, Susanna Roothman told Justice Ron Veale that the coroner, and her inquest, did not do its job.

The investigation for the inquest was not done by the territory’s Chief Coroner Sharon Hanley, but rather the RCMP themselves. That’s a conflict of interest, she said.

Roothman, who was the lawyer for the Silverfox family during the inquest, also said that she was unable to gain access to all the evidence.

During the inquest, she never received unvetted footage of Silverfox. That footage showed guards discussing Silverfox’s condition, and contradicts details presented at the inquest, said Roothman.

Roothman also alleges that Hanley unfairly curtailed her questioning of witnesses and evidence.

And the lawyer asserts that Hanley’s charge to the jury was defective. The coroner never summarized the evidence the jury was to consider, she said.

On Thursday, lawyers for the coroner defended her handling of the inquest. They asserted that Roothman was confused and misinformed.

The RCMP avoided a conflict of interest by handing the Silverfox case off to the force’s British Columbia division, they asserted.

Lawyers for the RCMP are expected to make their arguments to Veale today. No date has been set for Veale’s decision on the matter.