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Coroner's inquest begins for man who died in holding cells

Steven Joseph Scott died while in holding cells at the Penticton RCMP detachment on Aug. 10, 2012.
November 03, 2014 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - A B.C. Coroners inquest into the death of a Penticton man who died in RCMP cells two years ago heard this morning the man had diabetes.

The inquest, which began Monday at the Penticton law courts before coroner Larry Marzinzik will likely take the remainder of the week. Steven Joseph Scott, 30, died in a holding cell at the Penticton RCMP detachment in August 2012. He was being held for drunkenness and because a warrant had been issued for his arrest after he failed to show up at the detachment to serve a weekend sentence for a minor charge.

Under the Coroner’s Act, an inquest is mandatory in cases when a person dies in police custody. Witnesses will provide evidence before Marzinzik and a five-person jury that consists of two women and three men.

Const. Ryan Shedden of the Penticton RCMP testified Monday morning that he tended to Scott the first night he was brought in. Scott was originally placed in a drunk tank and later moved to his own cell at the detachment once he sobered up. He was held in custody in part because he was intoxicated but also because he was wanted on an outstanding warrant.

Shedden, who was not at the detachment overnight, found Scott the next morning around 11 a.m. lying in the fetal position in his cell. Scott’s feet were a purplish colour and his body was stiff, Shedden said.

He noticed no signs of suffering, such as vomiting or choking, he said. Scott had, the previous day, said he had low blood sugar but would be fine with juice boxes and did not need police to retrieve any medication. 

The inquest is set to be held in Penticton Supreme Court chambers for the remainder of the week. A formal report will be prepared to include the classification of death and any recommendations of the jury on how to prevent a similar death.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at marcher@infotelnews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

—This story was updated at 9:03 a.m. Nov. 4, 2014 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
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