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Inquest into James Smith Cree Nation murders slated for January , 2024Free Access


Last fall, the Saskatchewan Coroners Service announced that two inquests would be held in relation to the 11 deaths that occurred on the James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Saskatchewan on September 4, 2022, with a separate inquest to be held for Myles Sanderson.​
The inquests have been tentatively scheduled for early January, 2024. Further details will be provided to the public through a media release at least two weeks prior to the inquests taking place. The RCMP is continuing its investigation, and the inquest will begin once it has been completed.​
“The Coroners Service was optimistic we would be able to hold the inquests either in the spring or the summer of 2023,” Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said. “The investigation is very complex and the RCMP is still receiving new information. We need to ensure that all aspects of the investigations are complete before we can move ahead to ensure the inquest is as comprehensive and well-informed as possible.”​
The Coroners Service mandate is to conduct inquests in accordance with Section 19 of The Saskatchewan Coroners Act, 1999. In this instance, an inquest will be held in accordance with Section 19 (b): “inform the public of circumstances surrounding a death”, and Section 19 (c): “bring dangerous practices or conditions to light and facilitate the making of recommendations to avoid preventable deaths.”​
The Saskatchewan Coroners Act, 1999, Section 22, provides the Chief Coroner the authority to hold one inquest for multiple deaths occurring from the same event. Leadership at James Smith Cree Nation has been notified of the tentative timeline for the inquests.​
“We continue to work closely with the James Smith Cree Nation leadership and our Indigenous stakeholders throughout the investigative process, as this remains a high priority for the Coroners Service,” Weighill said. “Once again, I’d like to thank the RCMP for the significant resources they have dedicated to this investigation and their tireless efforts to complete their work as soon as possible.”​
The purpose of the inquest is to establish the events leading to the death, who died, when and where that person died and the medical cause and manner of death. The coroner’s jury may also make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences.