Canada briefs – October 20

A Manitoba health authority is asking a judge to dismiss the bulk of a lawsuit filed by relatives of a homeless man who died during a 34-hour wait in a Winnipeg emergency room on the grounds that he lost his Charter rights when he died. It’s a move that court documents filed by the man’s family calls “absurd, intolerable and cruelly ironic.”

Health authority argues man who died in wait room no longer has rights

WINNIPEG — A Manitoba health authority is asking a judge to dismiss the bulk of a lawsuit filed by relatives of a homeless man who died during a 34-hour wait in a Winnipeg emergency room on the grounds that he lost his Charter rights when he died.

It’s a move that court documents filed by the man’s family calls “absurd, intolerable and cruelly ironic.”

Lawyers for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority argue in their filings that Brian Sinclair’s rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ended with his death so his family cannot sue or request damages on those grounds.

“The allegations are that when Brian Sinclair attended the emergency department of the Health Sciences Centre, he was in need of medical treatment that was not provided within a reasonable time frame as a result of which he died,” states documents filed on behalf of the health authority.

“It is alleged that this failure constituted a breach of his Charter rights . . . but the jurisprudence is clear that the Charter rights of a deceased person cannot be enforced by his estate because those rights are personal and terminate with the death of the individual.”

The lawyers are also asking the court to dismiss claims that Sinclair’s privacy rights were violated because they say those rights also don’t apply after his death. They also want the court to dismiss part of the lawsuit which demands the authority cover the legal costs of Sinclair’s family in relation to the upcoming inquest into his death.

Cement truck driver who killed five people denied day parole

BOWDEN — A man convicted of killing five people when he smashed his cement truck into the back of a car has been denied day parole.

The National Parole Board did grant Daniel Tschetter unescorted temporary absences so he can spend time with his family. He will be allowed a 24-hour absence the first month, 48 hours the second month and three days a month after that.

The board’s decision came after a hearing Wednesday at Bowden Institution, 130 kilometres north of Calgary, where Tschetter has been serving time for manslaughter.

“This is a story with no happy ending for anyone,” said one of the two parole board members who heard Tschetter’s application Wednesday.

“This is not an easy decision for us,” he said. “I have no doubt the remorse you showed today was sincere, but we feel there are issues you need to work on.”

It wasn’t clear during the hearing what Tschetter’s personal issues are, although he referred several times to his impatience and inability to focus.

Feet that washed ashore belonged to female suicide victim

VANCOUVER — Two more of the eight feet that have washed ashore in British Columbia since 2007 have been identified.

The BC Coroners Service says the feet belong to a woman who committed suicide by jumping from the Pattullo Bridge in New Westminster in 2004.

Her feet washed ashore along the Fraser River in Richmond four years later and autopsies showed the limbs had not be cut off, but separated from the legs naturally.

The coroner’s office says DNA was used to identify the woman and her family has been notified, but doesn’t want her name released.

Six of the eight feet that have washed ashore in B.C. since 2007 have now been identified as belonging to four people.

The service says it’s still working to identify the other two.

Woman who broke leg at hospital told to call an ambulance

TORONTO — A troubled southern Ontario hospital was in damage-control mode Wednesday after an elderly woman who broke her leg falling in the entrance area of the facility was told to call an ambulance.

The incident, which has made international headlines, drew howls of outrage from provincial politicians.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called it “outrageous” the 82-year-old woman would be treated that way.

“That a senior citizen would be left in a hallway at a hospital, while they said paramedics had to be summoned from outside the jurisdiction for half an hour?” Hudak fumed.

“We’re in frigging Ontario. This is the way you’re going to treat a senior citizen? It’s wrong.”

Doreen Wallace’s family says they were told an ambulance would have to be called after she broke her leg and cut her arm when she fell inside the doors of the Greater Niagara General Hospital earlier this month.