Motion hearing scheduled for Brampton teen’s death inquest

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Published March 21, 2023 at 2:54 pm

Anthony Urciuoli/hamilton.insauga.com photo

More than five years after the death of Brampton teen Samuel Brown, an inquest date may finally be getting closer.

Samuel, who was born with a genetic condition that left him blind, deaf and non-verbal, died at the government-run school, W. Ross Macdonald School in Brantford on Feb. 9, 2018 at the age of 18.

In October 2021, the province announced there would be an inquest into his death but it was delayed to 2022. However, no date was scheduled.

As the five-year anniversary approached last month, the family’s lawyer, Saron Gebresellassi, said she would escalate the issue if an inquest date wasn’t announced by Feb. 9.

Today (March 21), Dr. Karen Schiff, Regional Supervising Coroner for West Region, Hamilton Office, announced a motion hearing related to the pending inquest is scheduled for this Thursday (March 23) at 9:30 a.m.

There were no further details on the motion. But CBC reported that Gebresellassi filed a motion asking for the coroner, police and the school to provide further documentation such as school staff log books. She said it was filed over a year ago.

There are conflicting reports on Samuel’s cause of death. The investigating coroner reported he died of natural causes, while an autopsy concluded he died of pneumonia.

Samuel had been a student at W. Ross Macdonald School since he was four years old with no problems for most of his time at the school.

He boarded at the school and came home to Brampton on the weekends.

But on evening of Feb. 8 a staff member called the family to say Samuel was acting “irritated” and reluctant to get up for dinner.

Dr. June Rogers, executive director of the Provincial Demonstration Schools Branch, later said Samuel appeared tired on Monday and Tuesday, and uncomfortable on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Feb. 8, Samuel seemed tired and congested, Rogers said. He had a fever later in the evening and staff indicated they checked on him every 30 minutes that night.

When staff checked on him at 6 a.m., Samuel had no vital signs and they started CPR. He was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 7 a.m.

Dr. David Cameron, presiding officer for the inquest, will preside at the motion hearing on Thursday. Maria Stevens is inquest counsel.

The proceedings are public and can be viewed online here.

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