While the B.C. Coroner's Service has said it's a possibility, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association is calling for a mandatory inquest into the death of a local man who died while in pre-trail custody.
Paul Gerard Judge, 47, died on Christmas Day from an injury he received five days prior. Prince George coroner Donita Kuzma raised the possibility of an inquest, because though the chain of events began while Judge was in custody at Prince George Regional Correctional Centre, he died in hospital.
A civil liberties group spokesperson told CBC News that inquests should be mandatory for all in-custody deaths and that the independent scrutiny of police and prison officials is critical to "ensure the public's confidence in these systems and accountability."
Amendments to the provincial Coroner's Act in 2010 removed the requirement for mandatory inquests. Now the chief coroner can forgo an inquest if satisfied the death was due to natural causes, could not be prevented and not connected to the care the person received in custody.
Judge had been arrested on Dec. 17 following shots fired at a home near the corner of Fifth and Tabor. He had been facing eight charges, including two counts of attempted murder.