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Inquest scheduled into death of Jacobus Jonker in Smithers

The BC Coroners Service has scheduled a public inquest into the death of Jacobus Jonker, beginning on Sept. 9, 2019.

The inquest will start at 9:30 a.m. at the Smithers Courthouse, located at 3793 Alfred Ave.

The death of Jonker, 53, was reported to the BC Coroners Service on Feb. 21, 2015, following an altercation that took place a week earlier involving police officers and a civilian jail guard at the Smithers RCMP cell block.

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.

Susan Barth, presiding coroner, 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.

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. For more information on inquests, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/coroners-service/inquest-schedule-jury-findings-verdicts

The BC Coroners Service looks to gather the facts surrounding why a death took place. It is not a fault-finding agency. It provides an independent service to the family, community, government agencies and other organizations.

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