The coroner’s inquest into the police shooting death of Chantel Moore of Tla-o-qui-aht has been postponed for a second time.
Acting Chief Coroner Michael Johnston has announced that the opening of the inquest into the death of Chantel Moore of Edmundston has been rescheduled to May 16. The inquest was scheduled to be held this month.
Martha Martin, Chantel’s mother, is frustrated.
“I have knots in my stomach,” she said, adding that she wished it was a bad dream and that she could wake up and hold her daughter again.
Ha-Shilth-Sa reached out to the coroner’s office in New Brunswick, where the hearing will be held, who stated their regrets for rescheduling the inquest to May 2022.
“The two delays occurred because of a variety of issues, including health issues and staffing changes,” stated Geoffrey Downey of the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s communications office.
He went on to say that the lead lawyer for the hearing was recently appointed as a judge. This required the appointment of a new lead lawyer.
“Moving the hearing to Fredericton enabled the rescheduled hearing to take place sooner than if it remained in Edmundston,” he said, adding that the new location made travel arrangements for the participants easier.
The delay has caused some concern for family members living in British Columbia, who had raised funds and booked tickets to New Brunswick for the second delayed inquest date in February 2022.
Chantel Moore was shot to death by an Edmundston Police Force officer Jeremy Sun during a wellness check outside her apartment on June 4, 2020. Sun alleges that Moore approached him brandishing a knife.
In December 2020 the Quebec BEI, an independent police watchdog, completed their investigation into Moore’s death and found Sun to not be criminally responsible.
In June 2021, just after the first anniversary of Moore’s death, the New Brunswick Crown Prosecutor declined to lay criminal charges against officer Sun.
“Based on the review of the evidence, it is of our opinion that in the early morning hours of June 4, the officer in question did believe, on reasonable grounds, that force or a threat of force was being used against him by Ms. Moore, that he shot at Ms. Moore for the purpose of defending or protecting himself and that his actions were reasonable under the circumstances,” said the prosecutor’s office in the written statement.
The BEI report was not released to the public because it contained sensitive information.
But the Coroner’s Inquest will be open to the public. The inquest is expected to last four to six days and will take place at the Delta Fredericton Hotel in Fredericton.
Acting Chief Coroner Michael Johnston and a jury will publicly hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding Moore’s death. The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.
An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death. The Coroner Service is an independent fact-finding agency that cannot make any finding of legal responsibility.
The inquest will be conducted in both English and French and there will be simultaneous translation. Jury selection begins at 9 a.m. on the first day.