Inquest jury finds man died of brain hemorrhage in RCMP custody in La Ronge, makes recommendations

A coroner’s jury found the death of a 43-year-old man in RCMP custody in La Ronge was accidental.

The six-person jury that heard evidence at the La Ronge inquest into the death of Desmond Roberts between April 3 and 5 found he died of a brain hemorrhage on June 1, 2015.

The jury made several recommendations:

— That RCMP members annually review and understand training related to responsiveness of people in custody and medical assistance.

— That the RCMP upgrade its training to annual recertification for First Aid and CPR

— That the RCMP implement regularly documented guard/matron logs.

— That federal and provincial governments, as well as the regional health authority, begin developing a detox centre with support services for people who need medical attention.

— That the federal and provincial governments and RCMP ensure a police officer is always available with the guard or matron and consider whether an inmate capacity of 20 would warrant another guard or matron to assist in monitoring the inmates.

Roberts was found unresponsive in his holding cell at the La Ronge RCMP detachment just after midnight on May 31, 2015. He was taken to hospital in La Ronge and then to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, where he died.

The chief coroner can call an inquest into any in-custody death if he or she is not satisfied that it was “entirely due” to natural causes or was not preventable.