External review deems charges not warranted in Brian Sinclair ER death
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:19AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 6:17PM CST
Police said an external review has determined charges should not be laid in the 2008 death of Brian Sinclair.
Sinclair was in a wheelchair. He died from a treatable bladder infection in the Health Sciences Centre in September 2008. Sinclair died without receiving treatment after waiting 34 hours.
Sinclair’s family filed a complaint with Winnipeg police and an investigation was launched in October 2010.
Police said more than 170 people were interviewed, including staff members and patients at HSC.
While police said Sinclair’s death was a tragedy, they said it is not a crime punishable by law.
“We provide all the facts to the Crown and the Crown determines in this particular case…whether or not there was sufficient grounds to meet the Criminal Code,” said Keith McCaskill, Winnipeg’s police chief.
After the investigation wrapped up 10 months after being launched, a report was sent to Manitoba Justice.
“The reason this had to go to a Crown (attorney) is because it’s such a unique investigation. We had never done anything like this before and we had nothing in Canada that we would compare it to,” said Det.-Sgt. John O’Donovan from Winnipeg police.
After receiving the file, Manitoba Justice officials then handed it over to Saskatchewan Justice for an external review.
“A senior Crown Attorney from Saskatchewan Justice reviewed the file and determined that no charges are warranted in this matter,” said Winnipeg police in a release.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority also issued a statement Tuesday.
“While mistakes were made and opportunities missed, no one intended to harm Mr. Sinclair,” said the WRHA.
“A number of changes were immediately implemented to improve safety and procedures in emergency department waiting rooms at HSC and others in Winnipeg. We are now looking forward to the start of the inquest and to receiving its recommendations.”
The public inquest was put on hold for the police investigation. Justice officials are working on setting up a date for it to resume.
The Sinclair family said an inquest is not enough. They’re calling for an inquiry, which can assign blame and hold people accountable, rather than just making recommendations.
“If somebody did something they really should not have, then they really should be held accountable for it in whatever way is appropriate,” said Vilko Zbogar, a lawyer for the Sinclair family.
The Sinclair family is also suing the province and WRHA for $1.6 million in damages.
- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout