On August 28, 2019 The Current reported that Ontario’s Supervising Coroner for Inquests had announced that an Inquest would be held into the deaths of Carol Culleton, Anastasia Kuzyk and Natalie Warmerdam at the hands of Basil Borutski. Now steps are underway to schedule that Inquest into the murders which took place on September 22, 2015.
The Office of the Chief Coroner has given notice of a Pre-Inquest Meeting to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 13 2021. Under guidelines published by the Chief Coroner, the purpose of such a meeting is to:
- Provide an overview of the Inquest process, the scope of the Inquest and a summary of the anticipated evidence;
- Invite input from parties about the evidence and issues which will be heard at the Inquest;
- Discuss next steps in the process; and,
- Discuss any other matters as appropriate.
Accompanying the notice are details of the proposed scope for the Inquest which highlights that “This Inquest will explore the circumstances of their deaths with a focus on the dynamics of gender-based, intimate partner violence and femicide in rural communities. The Inquest jury will be asked to consider recommendations directed at preventing future deaths and protecting victims of intimate partner violence in rural communities.”
The Inquest will be open to the public and the Notice states that “Family, friends, members of the community, law enforcement, service providers and other individuals with an understanding of the underlying causes of intimate partner violence and femicide in rural communities, will be invited to share their knowledge and experience.”
In addition, the presiding coroner may allow other persons with a substantial and direct interest in the Inquest, including persons who may be directly and uniquely affected by the recommendations to take an active part in the proceedings. This participation is called “standing” and a person or organization must apply for it.
Individuals who wish to observe the Pre-Inquest Meeting can do so virtually, using MicroSoft Teams. Click HERE to download the sign-in details.
The Chief Coroner introduces the Notice with the following statement by Zou Zou Kuzyk, sister of Anastasia Kuzyk:
“I have a daughter myself, and it would be reassuring to think that any systemic problems can be addressed so she will have a safer world to live in. This can happen to any woman and there is more the justice system and communities can do to keep women safe.”