The inquest into the 2012 death of Jean Paul Beaumont — a high-ranking biker gang member found unresponsive while incarcerated at Brandon Correctional Centre — has once again been extended in light of new information.
An investigation by Brandon police and the RCMP determined Beaumont’s death was caused by a morphine overdose.
Beaumont, 39, had been a member of the Zig Zag Crew, a so-called feeder group for the Hells Angels, then a member of the Hells Angels itself.
He later left that gang and emerged as the sergeant-at-arms of the Rock Machine, a rival gang to the Hells Angels.
On Tuesday, the court heard an audio recording of two individuals discussing Beaumont’s death, believed to have been recorded in February of this year, RCMP officer Const. Curtis Christie testified.
At one point, a man can be heard saying he provided the drugs that killed Beaumont, and that Beaumont was "done in by his own crew" because he was allegedly trying to leave the Rock Machine.
Christie attended the home where the recording was believed to have been taken, he testified, but no one was home. He also sent the audio recording to the criminal intelligence unit in Winnipeg who never followed up with him, other than to confirm they had received it.
"The existence of the tape, certainly in my view, creates perhaps a new wrinkle in the investigation as to what happened," Judge John Combs said. "I would like to know, at least in a definitive way, what was done with the tape, was Brandon Police Service informed, and whether or not any steps were taken to interview the people identified in the tape."
The inquest, which started late October last year, is
tasked with exploring how Beaumont accessed the morphine, how it got into his system and if anything could have been done to prevent his death.
If the audio recording reopens the investigation, Combs said the inquest should not continue until that investigation is complete.
"It’s always been accepted that an inquest should not be conducted until the criminal investigation has been completed," Combs said. "If it’s a criminal act, it has a huge impact on what we’re doing here."
Beaumont’s sister, Suzanne Beaumont, one of two family members to be granted standing at the inquest, said she was surprised to become aware of the audio recording and is thankful for the inquest’s continuation.
"I appreciate the court and his honour taking his time. It’s much appreciated that we slow it down and take the time to hear everybody," Beaumont said. "I think everybody does have something to contribute so it’s important for me that everyone gets a chance to contribute."
Beaumont said she hopes the inquest can change how inmates are treated in custody.
"It’s not only about my brother, this is bigger than that for me," Beaumont said. "It’s about how we treat people in custody … We forget that they’re real people with real hearts, real heads, that they have siblings, they have parents, sons and daughters — they’re human beings … It’s important that we remember that when we’re dealing with people’s deaths in custody."
The inquest is expected to continue in August.
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