Sinclair family lawyer argues inquest counsel in conflict of interest

Lawyers at the Brian Sinclair inquest will argue whether or not the inquest counsel guiding it is in a conflict of interest.

Lawyer Vilko Zbogar, who represents Sinclair’s family, told provincial court Judge Tim Preston that inquest counsel David Frayer is in a conflict.

Zbogar said Frayer told the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs he would not relay their request to the judge to order transcripts be compiled and printed for them because it could cost the province money.

Calling it a conflict of interest, Zbogar added “This raises a serious question whether the inquest proceedings may be affected by this same conflict of interest.”

Outside court, Marcel Balfour, the AMC’s acting executive director, says he has spent weeks trying to get the transcripts.

“We have standing in the inquest,” Balfour said.

“It has been a little bit challenging when we are not getting adequate access to them.”

As well, Balfour said while other lawyers representing parties at the inquest get electronic versions of the transcript sent to them, the AMC has been told it can come to the courts to listen to them during business hours.

The inquest — after a month break — is again looking into the death of Sinclair.

Sinclair, 45, died in the emergency waiting room while waiting for care for a blocked urinary catheter and bladder infection. He died on Sept. 21, 2008 after waiting for 34 hours.

The inquest has heard Sinclair may have been dead up to seven hours before he was noticed.

Meanwhile, Susan Alcock told the inquest she was the charge nurse who assigned nurses to various positions in the HSC emergency department on Sept. 19 and 20, 2008.

Alcock said because of sickness the department was down by five nurses on Sept. 19 in the late afternoon and early evening.

She said she filled two of the nursing positions with other staff but had to reassign the nurse in charge of reassessing patients in the waiting room over to the monitoring of cardiac patients.

Alcock said at the time the emergency room already had a 20 per cent vacancy rate of nurses there.

As well, Alcock said nurses told HSC management before Sinclair died that while they could see waiting patients in the old emergency waiting room, after the new department opened in 2007 nurses had no or limited view of them.

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