Monthly Archives: August 2019

Demands for inquest after husband’s death at Winnipeg Remand Centre

WINNIPEG – The wife of a man who died after suffering an epileptic seizure while in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre says facility staff denied her husband his epilepsy medication in the days leading up to his death.

Rochelle Pranteau was on the phone with her 26-year-old common-law husband Errol Greene from the institution when he began slipping into a seizure May 1.

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“He said he could feel the numbing feeling in his hands, and his jaw started locking and grinding and then he could hardly talk,” said Pranteau, 27, who has three children with Greene and is pregnant with a fourth. “Usually I can stop it when I’m face-to-face with him … but because I wasn’t there physically, I couldn’t stop it.

“I heard him fall, and then the phone dropped and was just dangling there.”

Pranteau said she listened helplessly for 20 minutes while guards and inmates responded.

“I could hear (the guards) throw him on his stomach and put cuffs on him … You could tell he was struggling for his breath. He was on his stomach and it sounded like a guard was on him,” said Pranteau. “They were trying to tell Errol to calm down, but how could he calm down? He’s having his episode, let him have it.”

Manitoba Justice said Greene was taken to hospital where he died. The department is investigating.

Greene was taken into custody the evening of April 29 for breaching a probation order not to consume alcohol. He had been out on bail awaiting trial for a mischief under $5,000 charge.

Pranteau said Greene told her remand centre staff denied him his epilepsy medicine — which he took three times a day to ward off seizures — from the time he arrived at the institution.

The president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union, which represents remand centre staff, expressed sympathy to Greene’s family and said the union will encourage its members to participate in the investigation.

“I think it’s important for everyone to withhold judgment on what happened until all the facts are known,” said Michelle Gawronsky in a statement.

A spokesperson for Manitoba Justice would not say whether Greene was refused his medication, citing privacy legislation, but said inmates sometimes need to see institutional doctors before medication is approved.

“If the offender is on medication and it can be verified, generally it is continued. If the medication cannot be verified through community health-care providers or if there are any potential issues, the offender is booked to see the institutional physician,” the department said in a statement.

“A contract physician attends each business day. Offenders waiting to see the institutional physician may be monitored in a correctional centre medical unit if needed, based on their condition.”

The department wouldn’t say whether Greene, who was arrested on Friday and died Sunday, was waiting until the next business day to see an institutional doctor.

Pranteau is demanding an inquest to determine why her husband was not allowed to take his medicine and to find out exactly where and when he died. Inmates have told her paramedics pronounced Greene dead at the remand centre around 3 p.m., but officials told Pranteau he died several hours later in hospital.

“So what is the story? Did he die at the hospital or did he die at the remand centre? It’s not matching up,” she asked. “I want to know what happened to him, every damn detail.”

Mark O’Rourke, director of the office of the chief medical examiner, said the investigation will determine whether an inquest will be held. An inquest is only mandatory when a person in custody dies “as a result of a violent act, undue means, or suddenly of unexpected cause,” he said.

“We’re still in the process of investigating,” he said. “It’ll take us several months. When the report’s done, we’ll review our file and we’ll be in a position to make a decision.”

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California wildfire destroys 4 homes as crews battle the blaze and heat

LOWER LAKE, Calif. – Flames racing through dry brush destroyed at least four homes and forced more than 1,000 people to flee a northern California lake community that was evacuated in a devastating wildfire last year.

Authorities ordered about 1,200 residents to leave 500 homes as the blaze surged south of the town of Lower Lake. The wildfire spread to more than 2 square miles by early Sunday, and crews faced hot weather and little cloud cover as they tried to get a handle on the flames burning largely out of control.

“The fire activity could change in a moment’s notice right now,” said Suzie Blankenship, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

WATCH: Coverage of the wildfires in California

Helicopters battle wildfires near San Bernardino County, California


Helicopters battle wildfires near San Bernardino County, California


Roads help cut off devastating wildfire near Big Sur, California


Aerial footage shows extent of wildfire in drought-ravaged California


‘Very extreme fire behaviour’: 1 dead, thousands evacuated as California wildfires rage


Sand canyon wildfire continues in California


Video shows massive wildfire spreading in Santa Clarita, California


Amateur video shows wildfire burning out of control in California


Deadly wildfire burns houses in California

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Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said more evacuations were ordered Sunday afternoon in the Copsey Creek subdivision, east of Lower Lake.

More than 700 firefighters are battling the 2-square-mile wildfire burning east and southeast of Highway 29 in Lake County, and many more are expected to join the fight throughout the day, he said.

The fire was throwing embers and spreading rapidly because of parched conditions brought on by the state’s historic drought, officials said. Large, explosive fires have torn through dried-out or hard-to-reach areas across California this summer, including a stubborn blaze near the picturesque Big Sur coastline that has burned 113 square miles since late July and destroyed nearly 60 homes.

READ MORE: 5,300 homes evacuated as California wildfire surges

Californians braced for heat Sunday, with high temperatures expected to soar 10 degrees above normal in the southern part of the state. Some counties in far Northern California also were warned of gusty winds and increased fire danger, officials said.

In Lake County, the fire threatened the houses of an additional 3,000 people in Hidden Valley Lake, a subdivision south of the blaze, and they have been told to stay vigilant in case they need to evacuate, Blankenship said.

Danielle Colbeck, 36, saw the flames from her home Saturday and decided to get out. She told the Press Democrat newspaper in Santa Rosa that she loaded her car with her two cats and important papers and headed to a friend’s house.

“When you see black smoke and flame from your driveway, you don’t want to take a chance,” said Colbeck, who lost her rental home and all of her belongings in the massive fire that evacuated Lower Lake last year.

READ MORE: More homes evacuated as California wildfire continues surge

That blaze killed four people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes. It was considered California’s third-most-destructive wildfire after ravaging most of rural Lake County and parts of Napa County about 90 miles north of San Francisco. A report issued this week concluded that faulty wiring in a hot tub ignited the 120-square-mile fire.

Another blaze that broke out Saturday afternoon forced the evacuation of 135 homes south of Lake Nacimiento in central California, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s office said. It burned more than 2 square miles, but no homes have been lost, and it’s partially contained.

In the south, residents were readying for a heat wave. Temperatures were expected to reach triple digits in valley areas north of Los Angeles, stoking an increased risk of wildfires in inland regions through at least Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

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Surrey mother talks to IIO about son’s death

The mother of 20-year-old Hudson Brooks of Surrey, is still in shock over learning from the Independent Investigations Office this week, that he died in moments after coming in contact with police.

“You can’t just kill him at close range,” said Brook’s mom Jennifer.

Early in the morning of July 18 last year, Brooks was heard  yelling and wandering down 18th Avenue towards the South Surrey RCMP station.

The IIO told his mom how the last moments of his life played out.

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“He then proceeded to bang on the hood of the police car screaming ‘help,’ two officers walked behind the car, Hudson ran up to them completely unarmed,” Jennifer said.

“An officer opened fire and shot him at close range.”

READ MORE: Rally held for man fatally shot by Surrey RCMP in 2015

She says his son wasn’t wearing shoes or a shirt at the moment of the incident.

For the past year  family and friends have held protests demanding answers as to why police fired on Brooks instead of restraining him.

The IIO could not give the answer, because the officer who shot Brooks has not have provided a statement.

“If you as an officer shoot and kill a young unarmed man, you should be demanded to make a statement,” Jennifer said.

The RCMP member who witnessed the shooting is required to provide the IIO with a statement. But the subject officer who pulled the trigger, does not.

READ MORE: Few answers into deadly police shooting of Hudson Brooks

“Subject officers do sometimes, they do provide us with a voluntary statement. They do sometimes come in for an interview but that is their own decision, that’s the purview,” Marten Yussef, IIO Spokesperson said.

“We cannot compel subject officers to testify, only the courts are able to do that.”

Youssef also confirmed that even the RCMP’s own incident report about the shooting is not legally required to be handed over to investigators.

“How did this happen? I want that officer charged. I want that officer charged because this is not OK . I will never ever, ever, have my son back.”

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Richard Henry Bain trial: No verdict on Day 2 of deliberations for Quebec 2012 election shooting

There will be a third day of deliberations in the trial of the man charged in Quebec’s 2012 election-night shooting, as the jury concluded its work without reaching a verdict on Sunday.

READ MORE: Richard Henry Bain trial: Judge tells jurors they’ll deliberate four of six charges

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  • Richard Henry Bain trial: No verdict on day 1 of deliberations

    Richard Henry Bain closing arguments

  • Richard Henry Bain trial: Evidence complete at trial of accused election night shooter

    Richard Henry Bain, 65, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of stagehand Denis Blanchette, as well as three counts of attempted murder.

    The charges against Bain are connected to events outside the Metropolis nightclub as then-premier designate Pauline Marois was inside celebrating the Parti Quebecois‘ election win.

    READ MORE: Richard Henry Bain trial: Psychiatrist who assessed Bain says he was ‘likely’ psychotic night of shooting

    The five men and seven women on the jury spent all weekend weighing a case that hinges on Bain’s mental state on the night of the Sept. 4, 2012, shooting.

    Bain has pleaded not guilty to the charges – his lawyer has argued his client was mentally ill at the time and should be found not criminally responsible for his actions.

    But the Crown has argued Bain was of sound mind and that the shooting was premeditated and triggered by his anger over the Parti Quebecois election victory.

    READ MORE: Richard Henry Bain trial: Crown asks jury to find accused guilty in election-night slaying

    The jury will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

    WATCH: Richard Henry Bain in court.

    Richard Henry Bain closing arguments


    Richard Henry Bain closing arguments


    Richard Henry Bain cross-examined


    Richard Henry Bain explains ‘vision’


    Richard Henry Bain has ‘no memory’ of attack


    Richard Henry Bain testimony continues


    Richard Henry Bain testifies


    Richard Henry Bain trial begins


    Richard Henry Bain in court

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Nova Scotia farmers welcome rain after struggling with dry conditions

Following a significant period of hot and dry conditions, rain finally fell in Nova Scotia on Sunday.

“It’s a million dollar rain. It’s fantastic,” said Ted Hutten, co-owner of Hutten Family Farm in Lakeville, N.S.

“All I can say is, ‘Praise the Lord,’” said Phil Daniels, owner of Daniel’s U-Pick, a farm in Windsor Forks, N.S., where customers pick apples off trees themselves.

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READ MORE: Nova Scotians struggle with dried-up wells

Over the past week, the dry spell has caused problems with firefighting, salmon populations, and wells.

“Not in my memory in the last three decades have I seen a summer like this, in this community at least,” said Hutten.

He said he’s lost somewhere between 10-20 per cent of some crop varieties and up to a 50 per cent loss in production.

“I don’t know anyone in the valley in this business that has not been dealing with a lot of stresses. There’s a lot of financial stress that comes with it,” said Hutten.

READ MORE: Dry weather makes for extremely low water levels in Halifax-area lakes, rivers

Daniels said that about 15 of the more than 200 trees he planted this year have died due to the dry conditions. Some trees that are decades old have also suffered.

“This is my livelihood. You know, I go ten months of the year with no money, basically,” he said.

The farm opens to the public next weekend, and an expectation things will get better is still alive.

“That’s what farming is all about, is having faith. You’ve got to have faith or you’re just going to be a nervous wreak,” said Daniels.

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