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Inquest Into the Deaths on James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon

Released on December 14, 2023

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service (SCS) will hold a public inquest from January 15 to January 26, 2024, at the Kerry Vickar Centre, 206 Bemister Avenue East, Melfort, in relation to the 11 deaths that occurred on the James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Saskatchewan on September 4, 2022.

The first day of the inquest is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Subsequent start times will be determined by the presiding coroner. If additional time is required for the inquest, the week of January 29 to February 2 has also been reserved. 

The Saskatchewan Coroners Act, 1999 states that an inquest will be held in accordance with Section 19 (b): "inform the public of circumstances surrounding a death", and Section 19 (c): "bring dangerous practices or conditions to light and facilitate the making of recommendations to avoid preventable deaths." Additionally, Section 22 provides the Chief Coroner the authority to hold one inquest for multiple deaths occurring from the same event. 

The SCS is responsible for the investigation of all sudden, unexpected deaths. The purpose of an inquest is to establish who died, when and where that person died, and the medical cause and manner of death. The coroner's jury may make recommendations to prevent similar deaths.

A separate inquest is required for the suspect, Myles Sanderson, who died in police custody, as Section 20, Subsection 8 (1) of The Coroners Act, 1999, stipulates that an inquest is mandatory regarding the death of a person while in custody. The inquest into the death of Mr. Sanderson will be held from February 26 to March 1, 2024, in Saskatoon.

Media attending the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon inquest are asked to become accredited through the Saskatchewan Courts. The application form must be accompanied by a recent criminal record check, a letter from the employer or news agency affirming the need for a Ministry of Justice-issued media identification card and a digital photo. Completed applications can be emailed to for processing. 

Once accredited, authorized media may use, in silent mode, a mobile phone, small laptop or other similar piece of equipment to perform live text-based communications from court. In addition, authorized media personnel may audio record the proceedings for the sole purpose of accurate reporting provided the recording is not broadcast or transmitted by any means. 

Coroner Blaine R. Beaven will preside at the inquest.


For more information, contact:

Ariane Whiting
Justice and Attorney General
Phone: 306-787-8621

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