WARNING: Distressing content.

The long-awaited public inquest into the mass stabbing incident on September 4, 2022 begins today in Melfort.

Miles Sanderson is accused of killing 11 people, including his brother during the rampage, which also left 17 others injured.

Chief Coroner Clive Weighill said highly anticipated testimony will come from RCMP officers, the coroner’s service, which will detail the causes of death for each victim and the Parole Board of Canada.

Yet he reminded the public that the inquest is not a trial, but will be an opportunity to understand the full facts and evidence of the tragic events 16-months ago.

“It’s been really heartfelt listening to their stories, to see the pain and try to help the community through this,” he explained over the past year, in meetings with victims’ families. “There’s not going to be a trial. So, this is the only way the families and the public can hear exactly what happened, in a true, public, factual account of what happened.”

1500 people were summoned to be prospective jurors for what is expected to be the largest public inquest in Saskatchewan’s history. Just six-people will make up the jury.

“We’ve never held an inquest of this size before in the province or in Canada I really think. It’s been put together very quickly,” said Weighill.

He credits the RCMP for conducting a quick and thorough investigation. Weighill said some victim’s families and the James Smith Cree Nation have standing in what is expected to be a two-to-three week inquest. 

While this inquest is expected to focus on the victims of the stabbing rampage, there will be some evidence regarding Sanderson. While he died in RCMP custody shortly after his arrest, a second inquest will take place in Saskatoon beginning next month.

(File photo of Clive Weighill. With files from Michael Joel-Hanson.)

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