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Coroner’s inquest to be held into death of former RCMP spokesperson

Click to play video: 'Coroner’s inquest called into death of RCMP officer Pierre Lemaitre' Coroner’s inquest called into death of RCMP officer Pierre Lemaitre
WATCH: A coroner's inquest will be held into the July 2013 suicide of RCMP officer Pierre Lemaitre. – Jul 23, 2018

A coroner’s inquest will be held into the death of the Mountie who was the face for the RCMP following the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport in 2007. The B.C. Coroners Service has scheduled the public inquest into Pierre Lemaitre’s death that will begin on Nov. 29, 2018.

The 55-year-old sergeant with the RCMP died by suicide at his Abbotsford home in July 2013.

In 2015, Lemaitre’s widow launched a lawsuit against the RCMP. The suit claimed the force made Lemaitre a “scapegoat” for Dziekanski’s death and that Lemaitre’s suicide was the result of the RCMP’s negligent conduct and its “intentional infliction of mental suffering.” The allegations haven’t been proved in court.

READ MORE: Wife of officer sues RCMP over his suicide

In the statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Sheila Lemaitre said her husband was told he would lose his job if he tried to correct misinformation given to the media about the night Dziekanski died. Pierre Lemaitre was the media relations officer who released information about the incident where the Polish immigrant was jolted with a police Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals area.
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“As a result of this incorrect information, his immediate removal as RCMP spokesman, the subsequent public release of the private video … he was brought into public contempt where he was accused in the public of being the ‘RCMP liar’ and/or the RCMP spin doctor,” the statement said.

Lemaitre’s initial accounts described Dziekanski as being distraught and behaving irrationally, adding that RCMP officers used two bursts of the Taser to immobilize him.

WATCH: Pierre Lemaitre on the stand at Braidwood Inquiry (April 2009)

Click to play video: 'Pierre Lemaitre on the stand at Braidwood Inquiry' Pierre Lemaitre on the stand at Braidwood Inquiry
Pierre Lemaitre on the stand at Braidwood Inquiry – Apr 22, 2009

Video later surfaced that appeared to contradict those accounts and an inquiry into Dziekanski’s death was also told that Lemaitre had watched portions of the video before issuing the first news release about the incident.

READ MORE: Family finally hears Lisa Dudley’s final words at coroner’s inquest nearly 10 years after her death

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The B.C.’s Coroners Act allows the province’s chief coroner to hold an inquest “if the chief coroner has reason to believe that the public has an interest in being informed of the circumstances surrounding the death, or the death resulted from a dangerous practice or circumstance.” The inquest will review the circumstances around Lemaitre’s death and “whether there are opportunities for a jury to make recommendations that may prevent deaths in similar circumstances.”

— With files from the Canadian Press

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