Frustrated by months of stonewalling, the family of Robert Bagnell have filed a Petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia (Action No. L051909) seeking a court order to compel provincial authorities to turn over autopsy reports and to hold a coroner’s inquest into Robert’s death.

Robert Bagnell, 44, died suddenly on June 23, 2004 on the fifth floor of a Vancouver rooming house. Vancouver police originally told his family he died of a drug overdose. About a month later, the police told the media that they had repeatedly used a Taser on him before he succumbed. Later, the police suggested that they had used the Taser in order to “rescue” Robert from a fire on the first floor.

Although a coroner’s inquest is mandatory whenever someone dies in police custody, the BC Coroner’s Service has so far refused to schedule an inquest or to provide autopsy results to the family.

Robert Bagnell’s parents have had to rely on media reports to try to understand how and why their son died. The autopsy and toxicology reports, which would include the cause of death, have been kept secret from them. However, many others have seen the documents. Here’s a partial list of those who presumably have copies of the documents that have been kept from the family: the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, the coroner, VPD investigators, Victoria PD investigators, Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld, Q.C., several Crown Counsel lawyers… everyone with an interest in the case, except Robert Bagnell’s parents and sister.

The family plans to have their Petition heard in BC Supreme Court on August 29, 2005.