Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 19, 2016 - 10:30 am

Nunavut orgs say they’ll implement Hall Beach inquest recommendations

“We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of all individuals in RCMP custody"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
 An inquest held earlier this month looked into the circumstances around the death of an 18-year-old local man, Tommy Anguilianuk. Now Nunavut organizations have committed to implementing the recommendations that came from the inquest. (FILE PHOTO)
An inquest held earlier this month looked into the circumstances around the death of an 18-year-old local man, Tommy Anguilianuk. Now Nunavut organizations have committed to implementing the recommendations that came from the inquest. (FILE PHOTO)

The organizations that make up the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy say they will work to implement the recommendations that came from a Hall Beach coroner’s inquest jury earlier this month.

The May inquest looked into the circumstances around the death of an 18-year-old local man, Tommy Anguilianuk.

Following four days of testimony from 18 witnesses, jurors found that Anguilianuk died by suicide on January 21, 2013, after escaping custody from the Hall Beach RCMP detachment.

Jurors also produced 13 recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future, directed at the RCMP, the Government of Nunavut and the suicide prevention strategy’s other partners, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and Embrace Life Council.

Those recommendations suggest that:

• RCMP immediately fix any building maintenance issues;

• RCMP post the phone number for the Kamatsiaqtut Helpline at local detachments;

• RCMP instruct guards to call RCMP officers to escort prisoners for fresh air;

• RCMP require guards to undergo training, and offer refresher training to guards every six months;

• RCMP make instructions available to guards in both Inuktitut and English;

• RCMP ensure that, when a prisoner is held in custody in a two or three-member detachment, that the detainee is checked on every six hours;

• RCMP post a phone number for a suicide prevention and help hotline inside the detachment;

• Government of Nunavut and community organizations clarify the role of mental health professionals and non-professionals working in the health sector, in regards to assessment and intervention with men suffering from depression;

• Government of Nunavut and Tunngavik Inc. work with local hunters and trappers group to encourage firearm safety and proper storage; and,

• RCMP investigators allow family members to see the deceased’s body, if possible.

“The Nunavut Suicide Prevention partners are all committed to continuing to work on education, health and safety initiatives that contribute to Nunavut communities,” said Nunavut RCMP commander Michael Jeffrey, in a May 18 release, speaking on behalf of all NSPS partners.

“We remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of all individuals in RCMP custody.”

The NSPS didn’t offer details on when and how those groups would implement those measures, and at what cost.

The inquest into Anguilianuk’s death was the second of its kind in Nunavut in recent years; the coroner’s office also held an inquest in 2014 to look into the 2012 death of Igloolik youth Solomon Uyarasuk, who also died in police custody.

Among recommendations from that inquest, jurors called for the RCMP re-open the investigation to determine the man’s cause of death; for local leaders or elders to assist in securing the scene of a death, as well as implementing detox centres outside the detachment.

But none of the recommendations were formally adopted, nor are any organizations obligated to implement them.

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