Chief Coroner’s decision to release Kilmer report unwise

Knowing it was a suicide is enough

There is no doubt that B.C.’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe put considerable thought into her decision to release the full report into the death of Ben Kilmer, the Cobble Hill man who committed suicide in May of 2018.

Lapointe heard Tonya Kilmer’s plea to withhold graphic details from the media and the public as far back as last November and despite being out of her office this week, she listened to a final request from Tonya Kilmer just a few hours before the release was sent to the media.

SEE RELATED: Your say: Public agrees media was right to rally behind Tonya Kilmer

SEE RELATED: Tonya Kilmer fighting to block release of coroner’s report

SEE RELATED: Coroner’s report confirms suicide in Kilmer case

Lapointe relied on a section of the Coroners Act that allows the chief coroner to release all or part of a Coroner’s Report and requires that the chief coroner consider both the public interest in the report’s findings, and the personal privacy of the deceased.

The chief corner determined that the public interest in the disclosure outweighed the personal privacy of the deceased in this instance.

Clearly, as events have unfolded this week, that was erroneous. It was unfair, potentially harmful to a grieving family and a poor reading of public interest.

Following the publication, in print and online, of the story describing Tonya Kilmer’s efforts to stop the release of a report into her husband’s death, there was an overwhelming outpouring of support for a grieving young widow.

The story was picked up throughout the province and it is clear that tens of thousands of people read the story on Black Press Media sites. Hundreds of readers commented on these sites as well as on our Facebook pages.

The Cowichan Valley Citizen site now has more than 130 comments on our Facebook site, significantly more than we have received for any recent story. Seldom has there been a more one-sided response on an issue.

It is unlikely that there are more than one or two comments on any of the Black Press Media sites that support the release of the full report.

What’s important about this fact is that there is clearly no appetite amongst the public to know the specifics of this suicide. Knowing it was a suicide is more than enough for virtually everyone who is aware of this tragedy.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Isles looking for playoff upset over Oceanside

The Kerry Park Islanders are looking to last year’s Cowichan Valley Capitals… Continue reading

Check out Cowichan’s heritage sites for Heritage Week

This year’s theme is “Bringing the Past into the Future”

Cowichan athletes medal in archery, curling and judo at BC Winter Games

Duncan Archer Liam Whitworth brought home two medals from the 2020 BC… Continue reading

Get ready to enjoy the ride and laugh along with Brentwood’s ‘Spamalot’

Spamalot is a twisted musical take on the tales of King Arthur.

Coming up in Cowichan: Learn about the Koksilah River and watershed

Speaker series to talk Koksilah River The next presentation in the Cowichan… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read