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Inquest examines witness list


A standing hearing to determine potential witnesses for an upcoming inquest into the death of an inmate at Dauphin Correctional Centre (DCC) took place at Dauphin Court House, Sept. 26.
On the evening of July 14, 2016, Freeman Zong, 26, of Dauphin, was in custody at DCC.
Zong told other inmates and staff he would take a shower, but was found hanging in the shower area by correctional officers a short time later.
Staff made resuscitation attempts and called emergency medical responders, however, these efforts were unsuccessful and Zong died at DCC.
A medical examiner determined Zong died by suicide and under The Fatality Inquiries Act, an inquest has been called by the chief medical examiner.
Inquests explore the circumstances and events leading to deaths for the purpose of finding out what, if anything, might be done to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Provincial Court Judge Christine Harapiak was presented a list of over 20 potential witnesses from Corrections, which included three cell mates, Zong’s girlfriend Taylor Mancheese, pathologist Dr. Raymond Rivera, Dr. Riley Smith, local attending RCMP and EMTs, a representative of Manitoba Corrections, possibly a family member and a psychiatrist.
It was suggested those involved in the inquest view the area where Zong died, to gain a greater understanding of the size and condition of the space in DCC.
In court, Harapiak noted Zong had been heard to say he did not want to be in DCC and thought he would be, for a while.
Judge Harapiak requested a representative be present to discuss best practices for dealing with suicidal inmates and whether DCC is appropriately resourced and designed. As a result, Corrections Centre superintendent Margo Lee was recommended.
The inquest is scheduled for April 1 to 12, at 10 a.m., in Dauphin Court House, plus April 29 and 30, if required.
Another standing hearing has been set for Jan. 29, 2019 at 1 p.m. in Dauphin Court House to further discuss the witness list.

M. A. Nyquist