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October 28, 2017 4:24 am

WorkSafe Director of Investigations On the Stand

Monday, May 11, 2015 @ 11:03 AM

Prince George, B.C. – The inquest into the deaths of Lakeland Mills employees Glenn Roche and Allan Little resumed this morning, with Chief Coroner  Lisa LaPointe saying she fully expects to deliver her charge to the Jury this Thursday.

The  inquest  had already heard from 47 witnesses before it took a break   in late March. Seven more witnesses, many of them from WorkSafeBC , are scheduled to  testify before the jury  will retire to make its deliberations.

This morning, Jeff Dolan,  the Director of Investigations for WorkSafe, testified although  requested to, he did not  agree  to  meet with Lakeland’s lawyer, Gavin Marshall to share the finds of  the investigation by  CASE Forensics, who had  been hired by Lakeland,  saying such a meeting would not have  been appropriate.  He  said  WorkSafe was  days away from  passing its own report to its CEO  for a decision  on whether the case should be forwarded to Crown  for consideration for possible charges. Dolan said  he sent an email to  Lakeland’s  lawyer  reminding him the “You are already required by law to provide that information to us, and  everything we know, you know” as WorkSafe had been making their findings public. He said “for us to sit down with an employer  who could be facing possible charges,  would not have been appropriate.”

When asked if the information in the CASE Forensics report was presented to  WorkSafe’s CEO, Dolan said “I don’t recall if it was.”

The lawyers for the various  agencies involved in the investigation into the Lakeland  explosion,  balked when  the coroner’s Counsel asked  why it took so long for the  investigation  documents to be handed over to Crown.  The decision to send the case to Crown  was  made  November 21st 2012, but  Crown had not received all the material until mid February of 2014, just weeks before the statute of limitations would have  been reached ( two year limit).  Dolan explained  Crown’s  requirement for disclosure far exceeded  what would have been necessary for  WorkSafe’s administrative penalties.  He said there were “tens of thousands of pages”   that had to be sent to Crown.

Yet with all those tens of thousands of pages, Crown had  determined  there were “areas of relevant evidence that had been left unexplained.”


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