Finally. Almost nine years after Frank Joseph Paul, 47, was found dead of hypothermia in a Vancouver alley, the public commission of inquiry into the circumstances of his death is set to begin on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 in Vancouver. Commissioner William Davies, Q.C. a retired Supreme Court of British Columbia justice, will preside over a process intended to scrutinize all aspects of the tragic case, including the handling of investigations conducted by the Vancouver Police Department, Crown Counsel, the BC Coroners Service and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

Here’s the official blurb, from

“The Government of British Columbia has appointed an independent commission of inquiry to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of Frank Joseph Paul. Mr. Paul, a Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick, was removed from the Vancouver Police Department lockup at about 8:30 p.m. on December 5, 1998, and was left in a nearby alley by a police officer. His body was found in the alley early the next morning. An autopsy concluded he had died from hypothermia due to exposure/alcohol intoxication.”

No coroner’s inquest was held and no criminal charges were laid.

The inquiry is to be divided into phases, with the first phase devoted to the factual circumstances of Mr. Paul’s death. Many organizations and individuals will be represented by counsel at the proceeding, including our client United Native Nations. The lawyers are expected to present opening statements on Tuesday.

Members of the public are welcome. The Commission hearings will be held commencing at 9:30 a.m. each weekday morning at the 8th floor, 701 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC. We hope to provide regular updates here.