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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Inquests should require lawyers for victims' families

B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director Murray Mollard says coroner's inquests often don't reveal the whole truth, because there's no mandatory lawyer for the victim or victim's family.  A lawyer for the victim or family can "seek to really question all the evidence . . . in a very probing way, rather than accepting the story the police investigation puts forward," Mollard said.  Automatic funding should be available to cover such a position for every inquest, he said.  Ensuring the probes are conducted fairly and comprehensively is crucial to public confidence in procedures that follow deaths in custody, Mollard said.  "The process doesn't permit full confidence in the answers," he said. "You need a thoroughgoing, impartial process."

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