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Saskatoon inmate didn’t show suicide warning signs before death: inquest

Click to play video: 'Inquest underway into 2016 death of John MacAulay at Saskatoon Correctional Centre' Inquest underway into 2016 death of John MacAulay at Saskatoon Correctional Centre
WATCH: Inquest underway into 2016 death of John MacAulay at Saskatoon Correctional Centre – May 8, 2017

John Glen MacAulay, 46, passed suicide prevention measures when he was remanded into the Saskatoon Correctional Centre six weeks before his death, an inquest heard.

The inquest into MacAulay’s death began Monday at the Sandman Hotel in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: Inquiry to be held into death at Saskatoon Correctional Centre

During his initial intake on Jan. 18, 2016, MacAulay wasn’t considered at-risk for suicide, according to Jock McDowell, deputy director of operations at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.

McAulay was found unresponsive in his cell on March 4, 2016.

He was on remand awaiting trial for second-degree murder in the May 2014 death of Norman Playter.

Both men were members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and knew each other.

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A correctional officer testified that during a routine check around 4:30 a.m. on March 4, MacAulay asked the officer for the time.

One hour later, the officer discovered McAulay unresponsive with a noose appearing to be made out of bed sheets.

Before his death, MacAulay sent a letter to his lawyer, proclaiming his innocence. Lawyer Kevin Hill received it five hours after staff found MacAulay.

READ MORE: Suspected murderer proclaims innocence after committing suicide

The six person jury heard how corrections staff don’t typically read outgoing mail from inmates. However, suspicions of certain behavior, including criminal activity, could allow staff to read outgoing letters.

MacAulay’s mail was never monitored, McDowell said.

Any correspondence between an inmate and his or her lawyer cannot be read by remand staff under any circumstance, he added.

Hill is scheduled to appear as a witness during the inquest, which is expected to conclude Wednesday.

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