Coroner's inquest begins into death of former inmate at Sarnia jail

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The death of Aaron Moffatt, 32, in Feb., 2018 is the subject of a coroner's inquest in southwestern Ontario this week.  (Mitchel Wiles/CBC - image credit)
The death of Aaron Moffatt, 32, in Feb., 2018 is the subject of a coroner's inquest in southwestern Ontario this week. (Mitchel Wiles/CBC - image credit)

A coroner's inquest has begun into the death of 32-year-old Aaron Moffatt, who died in hospital after being transferred there from Sarnia Jail in 2018.

Moffatt died in hospital on Feb. 3, 2018, after being transferred there from the jail on Jan. 22.

The inquest will hear from 11 witnesses, and is expected to last for five days.

Moffatt's father and sister provided written statements that were shared by the coroner's counsel Monday.

Moffatt's sister described him as a "kind, smart young man with an amazing sense of humour and a heart of gold."

His father said it was a tragedy how Moffatt's life ended, and said he was failed by many people, including his father.

Coroner's inquests are conducted when an inmate dies in custody.

The proceedings are not meant to assign legal responsibility but to determine the facts surrounding a death and potentially make recommendations. A five-person jury is responsible for making those recommendations, and can ask questions to witnesses directly during the proceedings.

"Recommendations from the jury are not about blame. They are about saving lives," inquest officer Dr. David Eden explained near the outset of the proceedings.

Andre Rajna, coroner's counsel, said some changes have already occurred since Moffatt's death.

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