A coroner’s inquest into the 2015 RCMP shooting death of James Reginald Hayward in Port Hardy has been postponed.
According to an email from the BC Coroner’s Service, the reason for the postponement is due to a limited availability of the courts, which is forcing them to keep looking for a date that works in the future.
James’ aunt, Nora Hayward, said she was surprised by the email, noting the coroner’s office told them it would be held in early spring.
“Now they’ve postponed and said they are going to try to give me six weeks notice for when they’re tentatively going to hold it,” she said. “Not only was my nephew gunned down and no one was punished or reprimanded in any way, I feel that they are postponing this to try and allow the public to forget and the families to move on.”
It was back in 2015 when James was confronted by the Port Hardy RCMP approximately 300 metres away from the Port Hardy Secondary School track. James moved towards the police with a large knife in his hand and was shot to the ground.
Witnesses said he then got up and continued toward the police and was shot again and again fell, this time not getting back up. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
After a two-year investigation into the shooting, the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) declined to press charges against the RCMP officer, as they felt there was a clear action from James presenting a threat.
“We were all disheartened that no one was being reprimanded for James’ death, but we’re hoping the coroner’s inquest will help change RCMP policies,” said Nora, who added she wants to see more training implemented for how police deal with armed or even unarmed citizens.
“James’ death will hopefully prevent another one, and that would help us in our grieving process. Perhaps all is not in vein and we can change how people are dealt with in the future.”