Coroner’s inquest scheduled into death of Woodstock-area man

by | Oct 12, 2022

Coroner and jury will hear evidence surrounding DTI accident that claimed the life of Richmond Corner’s Jimmy Martin

The Office of the Chief Coroner announced Wednesday, Oct. 11, the scheduling of an inquest into the death of Richmond Corner’s James Martin for Nov. 8-10 at the Burton Law Courts,

Martin, 64, died on Aug. 29, 2019, as a result of injuries sustained while working for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure along Hodgdon Road, south of Woodstock.

In a press release, the Department of Justice and Public Safety said presiding coroner Emily Caissy and a jury would publicly hear evidence from witnesses to determine the facts surrounding this death.

The release explained that the Coroner’s Officer announced the inquest pursuant to Section 7(b) of the Coroners Act, which states the Office of the Coroner shall hold an inquest when a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of their employment at or in a woodland operation, sawmill, lumber processing plant, food processing plant, fish processing plant, construction project site, mining plant or mine, including a pit or quarry.

An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death. The New Brunswick Coroner Service is an independent fact-finding agency that may not make any finding of legal responsibility.

Martin died from injuries sustained after falling from a bridge while a Department of Transportation and Infrastructure crew member.
In Woodstock provincial court on June 16, 2020, DTI pleaded guilty to failure to secure a guard rail on the bridge, leading to the fatality.

On July 15, 2020, Judge Pierre F. Dubé fined DTI $125,000 in relation to the charge. The judge expressed frustration that the money from the fine goes right back into general government revenue as he held no discretion as to where he could direct the funds.
Martin’s widow Rayna, daughter Holly Jones and brother Peter Martin who attended the Woodstock court dates, shared the judge’s frustration.

During sentencing, Judge Dubé noted that he couldn’t even direct the fine money to a charity under provincial law.
Jones reflected on that following sentencing.

“His widow is not given anything. The money is not doing anyone any good. We got nothing,” she said. “With a charitable donation, at least it would be given to a cause needing support.” The province has since changed legislation to allow fines laid against government departments to be directed to charity.

The November inquest will deal only with the facts surrounding the workplace accident. The jury will have the opportunity to make recommendations to prevent future deaths under similar circumstances.

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