The BC Coroners Service has scheduled a public inquest into the 2016 death of a teen who had spent time in the Port Alberni RCMP detachment’s jail cells.
Jocelyn Nynah Marsha George, 18, died of heart failure at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital the night of June 24, 2016 after being transferred from police custody. George had spent the previous day and night in the Port Alberni RCMP detachment’s jail cells after being found intoxicated in a public place.
Port Alberni RCMP were cleared of any involvement by the Independent Investigations Office in 2018. According to the IIO report, George’s cause of death was drug-induced myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, due to the toxic effects of methamphetamine and cocaine.
An inquest is now scheduled for July 6, 2020 at the Port Alberni Courthouse beginning at 9:30 a.m.
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.
Presiding coroner Michael Egilson 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.
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.