The parents of a man who was killed when he was struck by a train will be among those allowed to directly take part in an inquest into the death.
A hearing was held in Brandon provincial court this week to determine who will have standing at the inquest for which dates have yet to be set. Those with standing at the inquest are permitted to ask witnesses questions and make submissions to the court.
The inquest will probe the circumstances surrounding the death of 24-year-old Craig Kucher, who was hit by a train. His body was found lying beside the Canadian Pacific Railway main line near the First Street Bridge on June 18, 2012.
Kucher, 24, had a history of medical, emotional and behavioural issues and went to the Brandon Regional Health Centre’s emergency department on June 7, 2012, in what has been described as a delusional state.
After being seen by a doctor, he was referred to an on-call psychiatrist the next day. He was then committed to care at the Centre for Adult Psychiatry in Brandon.
However, after his condition improved, he was released on a two-day leave of absence into the care of his mother.
Later that evening, he left his home and died after being struck by a train. The medical examiner could not conclusively state whether the death was an accident or suicide.
The chief medical examiner has since called an inquest under the Fatality Inquiries Act. Inquests explore the circumstances and events leading to deaths for the purpose of finding out what, if anything, could be done to help prevent similar deaths in the future.
Before an inquest begins, however, a judge decides who can participate and question witnesses.
In this case, the standing hearing was held on Tuesday before Judge Donovan Dvorak, who granted standing to Kucher’s parents.
The City of Brandon and the Brandon Police Service were also granted standing at the inquest. During Tuesday’s hearing, their lawyer Bob Patterson noted that BPS officers are expected to testify.
Police took part in the investigation into Kucher’s death. But Patterson said BPS officers had also responded to a call for help from the Centre for Adult Psychiatry at some point.
Prairie Mountain Health, which runs the Centre for Adult Psychiatry, and the psychiatrist who discharged Kucher also received standing.
Crown attorney Ron Toews told Dvorak that his office has only been able to leave a message with CPR. Dvorak left the door open for the rail company to apply for standing at a later time.
Toews said that medical records still need to be secured. That, in turn, will determine the number of witnesses who will be called. His office will then meet with representatives of the various parties and Kucher’s family to set the inquest dates. For now, the case has been put to Sept. 25.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 21, 2014