VICTORIA - The B.C. Coroners Service denies it deleted the suicide note of a man who remains part of a long-running controversy surrounding the firing of eight government health workers.
In a letter to Premier Christy Clark, dated Monday, Linda Kayfish said the suicide note her brother Roderick MacIsaac left on his laptop shortly before his death was not there when it was returned by the coroners service.
Kayfish alleged the coroners service suppressed the document, which she said belonged to her brother's estate, and suggested the disappearance of the note reinforces her call for an independent, public inquiry into the firings.
MacIsaac was one of the fired workers. His body was found in his home in January 2013.
"Looking at the equipment, the document was indeed not there," said Kayfish in her letter to Clark. "Imagine our disappointment. A man's last words, meant to be read by family and friends regarding his abrupt departure, were no longer available."
Neither the service nor the RCMP deleted the two-page note from MacIsaac's laptop, Vancouver Island regional coroner Matt Brown insisted in an interview Tuesday.
"We disagree with that and refute that suggestion that any material was deleted from Mr. MacIsaac's computer," said Brown.
"Certainly, we asked the police to assist us with the examination of the equipment, which is normal practice, and certainly from their perspective they've also confirmed that they've deleted nothing form the laptop."
Brown said the coroners service still has a printed copy of the note, which describes the personal and work-related stresses MacIsaac said he was experiencing following his dismissal in September 2013.
MacIsaac's computer was seized from his home Jan. 9, 2013, the day after his death was reported to the coroner, and returned to his family Oct. 11, 2013, said a statement released by the service.
It said the computer was password protected and the coroners service delivered it Jan. 10, 2013, to the Island District Technical Crime Unit, which is a police unit that does forensic work.
"At no time did anyone from the B.C. Coroners Service have access to the contents of Mr. MacIsaac's laptop in electronic format," said Brown in the statement.
The Health Ministry announced the firings of the eight workers in September 2013 amid allegations of inappropriate and possible criminal conduct connected to drug research, but charges were never laid and the government later apologized to the workers and their families.
Last week, Health Minister Terry Lake said the government is prepared to launch its second public review of the firings and is calling in the Office of the Ombudsperson to review the firings.
He refused to call a public inquiry, calling it expensive and too time-consuming.
A government-appointed review concluded last year the firings did not follow existing procedures and reached premature conclusions. Labour lawyer Marcia McNeil's report last December found the investigation was flawed from its start.