Better mental health assessments and education top the list of jury recommendations following a three-day coroner’s inquest into the death of a prominent B.C. RCMP spokesman.
Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre took his own life on July 29, 2013, nearly a year after going on stress leave after the fallout from the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport in 2007.
JUST IN: Coroners Inquest jury has come out with 5 recommendation, directed to the RCMP. Includes: mental health assessments to be in conjunction with 3-year mandatory physicals, mental health education and classes for RCMP members, their families. More to come @BlackPressMedia https://t.co/PGGhfiMIZW— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) November 30, 2018
Late Thursday, the jury made five recommendations, all aimed at the RCMP, such as securing funding to bring in mental health assessments along with mandatory physicals every three years, as well as mental health education and classes for all members of the RCMP.
The jury also recommended making classes available for family members during the initial hiring of their loved ones to provide an overview of potential mental health issues that can arise over their career.
The inquest heard testimonies from Lemaitre’s widow, Sheila, medical experts, fellow Mounties, as well as one of his supervisors, Chief Supt. Denis Boucher.
Lemaitre, who lived in Abbotsford, had been the first RCMP spokesperson to speak to the media about Dziekanski’s Taser-linked death and how four RCMP officers had responded.
His statement was later thrown into doubt when a citizen-recorded video surfaced that showed the Mounties firing their Tasers five times, not twice, and Dziekanski to be much less aggressive than described by the RCMP. Lemaitre had tried to correct the misinformation, but his bosses refused.
The coroner’s inquest is not meant to find legal fault, but to prevent similar deaths.
- With files from Katya Slepian