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A coroner's inquest looks into the death of Travis Havers inside the Sarnia Jail

Travis Havers is seen in this undated photo that was submitted at the inquest. (Source: Facebook) Travis Havers is seen in this undated photo that was submitted at the inquest. (Source: Facebook)

An agreed statement of facts asserts that Travis Havers, 31, died when he hung himself using sheets tied to bars of his cell inside the Sarnia jail.

The statement, which opened the Ontario Coroner`s Office inquest in Monday, was presented to the virtual hearing by inquest counsel Aniko Coughlan.

It detailed that on Aug. 10, 2020, Havers was sentenced in the Ontario Court of Justice for a number of offences including criminal harassment, counselling suicide and failing to comply with bail release terms.

Havers received a nine month conditional sentence order to be followed by a three-year probation order.

On Dec. 2, Havers was arrested for breaching the court order by communicating with his ex-partner.

He appeared in bail court and was remanded into custody with a court date scheduled for Dec. 7.

Havers was admitted to the Sarnia Jail around 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 and died less than two days later.

Jail staff knew of his medical history, his use of illicit drugs and his mental health issues, which included a history of suicide attempts.

At the time, the jail had policies in place that were in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They included having new inmates spend 14 days in isolation in a single cell.

The agreed facts indicate that the day after being admitted, Havers was given an opportunity to leave his cell, which he declined.

At that time, he received a COVID screening which was negative. He was also given a Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale (COWS) evaluation and he denied having thoughts of suicide.

Havers was last seen alive by a corrections officer (CO) at 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 5. Video surveillance showed about six minutes later he secured a bed sheet to the cell bars and around 1:40 a.m. another patrolling CO discovered Havers and called in a medical emergency.

Two officers performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED).

Sarnia Police and local EMS started arriving around 1:50 p.m. but Havers was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.

Regional Corner Dr. Sidney Siu had Havers body transported to University Hospital in London for post-mortem examination which found he died of asphyxia by hanging.

An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act for every jail death.

This inquest is being overseen by lawyer and law professor Daniel Ambrosini.

Others with standing in the inquiry are a Harmehak Somal, Counsel for the Solicitor General, and Michelle Havers, one of Travis Havers’ older sisters, who is representing the family.

Approximately half-a-dozen witnesses are expected to testify, including corrections officers and the jail`s medical staff.

The five-person jury will not determine if there was criminal wrong-doing, but are being asked to make recommendations aimed at preventing further deaths.

Five days have been set aside for the inquest. Top Stories

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