Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)

Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

A COVID-19-delayed inquest into the death of a Vancouver Island teen after a stint in police custody is scheduled to get underway next week.

The BC Coroners Service has rescheduled a mandatory public inquest into the death of Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George after the coronavirus pandemic interfered with the original date. The inquest will begin on Monday, June 21, at 9:30 a.m. in Port Alberni. It was originally scheduled to begin on July 6, 2020, but was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

George, 18, died of heart failure on June 24, 2016 in hospital in Victoria after being transferred from police custody at the Port Alberni RCMP detachment. She had spent a day and a night in custody.

Presiding coroner Margaret Janzen and a jury will hear evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts surrounding this death. The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances. A jury must not make any finding of legal responsibility or express any conclusion of law.

The inquest is open to the public. Seating will be limited and subject ot COVID-19 protocols. A livestream feed will be available here.

An inquest is a formal process that allows for public presentation of evidence relating to a death. The jury will certify the identity of the deceased and how, where, when and by what means death occurred. The BC Coroners Service is not a fault-finding agency.

Under Section 18(2) of the Coroners Act, inquests are mandatory for any deaths that occur while a person was detained by or in the custody of a peace officer.

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