Monday, October 5, 2015

Coroner's Inquest delivers 24 recommendations after five days of review

After five days of testimony and review, the Coroner's Jury tasked with reviewing the deaths Angie and Robert Robertson delivered its final recommendations in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Earlier in the day on Friday, Coroner Michael Egilson had outlined to the the jury members the parameters of review that they should put to the information received as they sought to deliver their final report on the review. 

Taking into consideration the four days of testimony from a range of witnesses called to provide background on the lives of the two Prince Rupert residents who died in 2014. With the main theme one of not assessing blame, but to provide for guidelines for the future to provide for more options for those that may face similar circumstances.

From the accounts of the final day of the inquest, when the jury returned to provide their findings, the majority of the items of note would focused towards the office of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Among some of the recommendations made public on Saturday morning were the requirement for child safety training for social workers dealing with special needs children to identify when to involve child services, as well as a review of funding for autism in the province for children over the age of 6, with a consideration to increase the current funding cap of $6,000 per year.

Better assessment for caregivers with special needs children living with mental health issues or domestic violence, to determine the appropriate support requirements.

The need for better protocols to be in place to ensure that the First Nations Health Authority is involved in planning for aboriginal children and youth with special needs, as well as better consultation between the Ministry and First Nations when planning for indigenous special needs children.

A key recommendation, was the need to address the lack of support services in remote and rural communities such as Prince Rupert, with the Ministry advised that autism training should be provide in such areas a no cost to a child's funding allowance and that transportation costs become part of the planning for youth with special needs.

The full document will be released in the near future to the Coroner's office website, which also will include any responses from the various agencies and government offices identified as part of the report.

The five days of witness testimony and deliberations provided an extensive review of the situation that faced Angie Robinson and her son, with witnesses from the RCMP, School District 52, Northern Health and Social agencies all outlining the cycle of events that led to the tragic events of last year.

When it came to providing information for North Coast residents on the day to day developments, two of the Prince Rupert based media outlets offered some very good reporting on the proceedings throughout last week. 

The Prince Rupert Court House was
the location for a five day Coroner's
Inquest last week into the deaths
of Angie and Robert Robinson
Christa Dao of CFTK filed daily reports for TV7 and George Baker and the Daybreak North team offered up a number of reports and background pieces over the course of the Coroner's inquest, many of which brought home much of the pain that the Robinson family was in leading up to their deaths.

Considering the nature of many of the facts and observations of the review over the last five days, sitting in the court room over those four days to digest and then report on the testimony must have surely made for one of the more emotional of assignments for those covering the story.

While not as frequent as the other two media groups, CFNR Radio also provided some reports through the week, though surprisingly, the weekly newspaper did not mention the inquest once, either on its website or in print versions during the course of the five days of sessions at the Prince Rupert Court House.

The proceedings from the inquest have also generated some attention outside of Prince Rupert with the provincial and national media for the most part appearing to have picked up the bulk of the work of CFTK and the CBC over the course of the last seven days.

You can review many of the contributions from all concerned from our archive page here, which followed the notifications as the four days moved forward leading up to the recommendations of Saturday.

Update: Findings from the Coroner's Inquest posted to the Coroner's Office website Monday, October 5, 2015. 

Robert Robinson
Angie Robinson

** Note: this item has been corrected to reflect the proper number of recommendations (24) made by the members of the inquest panel, previously we had listed the recommendations at 25.

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