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Aboriginal groups marginalized at Sinclair inquest: lawyers

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Aboriginal groups believe they are being marginalized in an inquest looking into the death of an aboriginal man in a hospital waiting room.

Lawyers for the family of Brian Sinclair, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto are all arguing they can't participate fully in the inquest unless they are given written transcripts for free.

The lawyers say it is especially essential that the transcripts be provided because so far the AMC, ALST, and Ka Ni Kanichihk have not been granted funding for legal counsel to participate in the inquest - even though they were granted permission to be part of the inquest.

"All of the parties seeking relief are aboriginal," said Murray Trachtenberg, who represents Sinclair's family, at the inquest today.

"I don't think there is a coincidence and I don't make that comment lightly."

Trachtenberg said with only a digital audio version it makes it difficult to participate because it still takes time to listen to it.

"They need transcripts to participate effectively," he said.

Emily Hill of ALST agreed saying "without transcripts it would be very difficult for ALST to participate.

"There's a greater impact for the AMC and KNK - they have been completely marginalized. They can't afford lawyers and they can't listen to audio."

Jeremiah Raining Bird, representing the AMC at today's legal arguments, said the provincial government only offered to let the AMC and KNK get access to the audio recordings of the inquest this week after several weeks of hearings have already been heard.

"You're looking at a monumental task just to get caught up," he said.

Provincial court judge Tim Preston is expected to rule on the issue sometime today.

The inquest is looking into why Sinclair, 45, died in the HSC's emergency waiting room - after sitting there in his wheelchair for 34 hours - and how to prevent other deaths in any Winnipeg emergency waiting rooms.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM CDT: Fixes typo in acronym.

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