Family of Port Hardy man killed by police worry they won’t be able to attend inquest

Family of Port Hardy man killed by police worry they won't be able to attend inquest

WATCH: The family of a man killed by Port Hardy RCMP in 2015 is reliving the pain after a new development in his case. A coroner’s inquest into James Hayward’s death has been scheduled for Campbell River this August, but it’s nearly three hours from where the incident took place and his family lives.

Being back in a playground and pushing her granddaughter on the swings reminds Nora Hayward of the many days spent with her nephew James Hayward.

“James was subdued,” said his aunt Nora Hayward.

“Always quiet. Always thinking. Always planning his future. Thinking of what could be.”

Addiction and bipolar disorder made his future a lot harder though. But at 24, his family still had great hope he’d turn his life around and what happened on Port Hardy’s Granville Street on July 8, 2015, left his family in shock.

“I was heartbroken,” said James’s cousin Amber Rabey.

“I felt robbed.”

“He was 24 years old,” said Nora.

“He was a kid. He was a kid,” she said.

An Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C. probe revealed James had threatened to kill a bystander with a knife. When RCMP arrived and yelled for him to drop it, he instead lunged at them and RCMP shot him five times.

“I don’t think he needed to be killed. He needed help and we failed him,” said Rabey.

The IIO cleared Port Hardy RCMP of any wrongdoing that day but a coroner’s inquest will be held on Aug. 20 to try to prevent similar tragedies.

James’s family has just learned it will be at Campbell River’s courthouse, though, nearly three hours from where the incident took place and much of his family lives.

“He spent most of life in Port Hardy. There’s a lot of people who know him who loved him, from Port Hardy and who would want to be a part of this,” said Rabey.

The BC Coroners Service tells CHEK News staff are now trying to accommodate the victim’s loved ones but said quote:

“The Campbell River Courthouse was the closest one with a courtroom that was available to securely accommodate an inquest with a courtroom equipped for a jury.”

“We’re getting close to the last thing that we can do for James,” said Nora.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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