The Pediatric Cardiac Inquest Report - Chapter 1



In camera proceedings

During the course of hearings some of the witnesses or their counsel asked that certain evidence be heard in camera. Provision for doing so is found in section 31 of the Fatality Inquiries Act.

Inquest open

31(1) Subject to subsection (2), an inquest under this Act shall be open to the public.

In camera inquest

31(2) Where a provincial judge charged with conducting an inquest is of the opinion that testimony to be given or other evidence to be introduced at the inquest includes matters that

(a) involve public security;

(b) are of such a personal nature that, having regard to the circumstances, the privacy of a person would be unreasonably breached; or

(c) relate to professional activities that, having regard to the circumstances, the professional reputation of an individual would be damaged unjustifiably;

the judge may, on application, order that the inquest or a part of the inquest be conducted in camera.

Factors for in camera inquest

31(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), a provincial judge shall consider the following matters:

(a) the nature of the personal interests or of the professional activities that may be adversely affected by testimony heard or evidence introduced at the inquest;

(b) whether disclosure of all or part of the diagnosis or medical records of the deceased or disclosure of a report of a medical examiner

(i) would result in injury or harm to the mental or physical welfare of a third party,

(ii) would be prejudicial to the interests of a person not involved in the inquest,

(iii) has the approval or consent of the legal representative of the deceased; and

(c) whether conducting the inquest in camera would be

(i) in the interests of justice, or

(ii) injurious to the public interest generally.

Application for in camera inquest

31(4) A person who

(a) is a Crown attorney or other officer or counsel appointed by the minister to act for the Crown;

(b) is a member of the family of the deceased;

(c) is the legal representative of the deceased;

(d) may be adversely affected, personally or professionally, by evidence given at the inquest; or

(e) is declared by a provincial judge, on application, to be an interested party;

may apply to a provincial judge for an order that an inquest or part of an inquest be conducted in camera.

Application in camera

31(5) An application under subsection (4) shall be made in camera.

Decision final

31(6) An order made under subsection (2) is final and is not subject to judicial review or appeal.

No disclosure of in camera evidence

31(7) Subject to subsection 33(2), where an inquest or part of an inquest is conducted in camera pursuant to an order made under subsection (2), no person shall disclose or cause to be disclosed to another person testimony heard or evidence introduced in camera.

In my opinion, there was merit to the applications made on the grounds set out in the legislation, and from time to time, in camera hearings occurred. I have decided that much of the evidence rendered in the in camera proceedings need not to be discussed or disclosed in this report. However, even where some of that evidence has been disclosed and discussed, the order made at the time of the in camera applications forbidding disclosure of the evidence revealed during those hearings remains in effect. In particular information that might identify children other than those who died in 1994, and whose cases were investigated as part of these proceedings, is not to be disclosed.



Current Home - Table of Contents - Chapter 1 - In camera proceedings
Next Disclosure
Previous Medical Standards Committees and privilege
Section 1 Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Issues
  Chapter 2 - Pediatric Cardiac Issues
  Chapter 3 - The Diagnosis of Pediatric Heart Defects and their Surgical Treatment
  Chapter 4 - The Health Sciences Centre
Section 2 Chapter 5 - Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in Winnipeg 1950-1993
  Chapter 6 - The Restart of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery in 1994
January 1, 1994 to May 17, 1994
  Chapter 7 - The Slowdown
May 17 to September 1994
  Chapter 8 - Events Leading to the Suspension of the Program
September 7, 1994 to December 23, 1994
  Chapter 9 - 1995 - The Aftermath of the Shutdown
January to March, 1995
Section 3 Chapter 10 - Findings and Recommendations
Appendix 1 - Glossary of terms used in this report
Appendix 2 - Parties to the Proceedings and counsel
Appendix 3 - List of witnesses and dates of testimony
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