NORTH ISLAND GAZETTE FILE PHOTO The crime scene in Port Hardy one day after the fatal RCMP shooting of James Hayward in 2015.

Inquest into Port Hardy police shooting moved to Campbell River

Family disappointed James Hayward coroner’s inquest rescheduled hours away

The coroner’s inquest into the 2015 RCMP shooting death of James Hayward in Port Hardy has been rescheduled for Aug. 20, in a courtroom almost three hours away from where the shooting occurred.

According to the BC Coroner’s Service, the change in venue is due to the fact that they needed a courtroom equipped for a jury that would be able to accommodate the inquest.

James’ aunt, Nora Hayward, said the family is “a bit disappointed that it’s going to be held in Campbell River — if they had to change the venue why couldn’t they do it to Victoria where family and friends live?”

She added that she asked if they could postpone it so that it could still be held in Port Hardy, but was told by the coroner’s service they “can’t do that.”

Regardless of the change in venue, Nora stated she is “glad that it’s finally happening and that James’ voice can be heard and hopefully some recommendations will be made to change the way the police deal with people suffering from mental health issues.”

The inquest will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the courthouse in Campbell River, where the presiding coroner and a jury will hear the evidence from witnesses under oath to determine the facts about James’ death.

Coroner’s inquests are formal court proceedings, with a five- to seven-person jury, held to publicly review the circumstances of a death. The jury hears evidence from witnesses under summons (same as a subpoena) in order to determine the facts of a death. The presiding coroner ensures the jury maintains the goal of fact-finding, not fault-finding. Upon conclusion of the inquest, a written report known as a Verdict is prepared. It includes the classification of the death and any jury recommendations on how to prevent deaths in similar circumstances.

It was back in 2015 when James moved towards the Port Hardy RCMP with a large knife in his hand and was shot to the ground. Witnesses said he then got up and continued toward the police and was shot again and again fell, this time not getting back up.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

After a two-year investigation into the shooting, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) declined to press charges against the RCMP officer, as they felt there was a clear action from James that was creating a threat.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friday’s earthquake a reminder to be prepared, says Ucluelet mayor

“When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared.”

Central Westcoast Forest Society is searching for wood and trees

Scrap wood will be used to help rebuild the local salmon populations near Tofino and Ucluelet.

UPDATED: Tofino-Ucluelet highway reopens after bridge installed earlier than expected

Hwy. 4 now open to all vehicles, including delivery trucks and RVs

UPDATED: Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read