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Victoria has rash of 30 homeless deaths

Feb. 27, 2013 at 3:28 PM

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- The deaths of 30 homeless people in Victoria, British Columbia, in four months have triggered calls for an investigation by anti-poverty advocates.

The Poverty Law Club at the University of Victory says it wants the regional coroner to hold an inquest into the rash of deaths among the city's street population in the past four months, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

The deaths, which ranged from drug overdose to pneumonia to suicide, are three times the number from a year ago the group says.

"It is within their power to conduct any inquest that's been reported to them on a class of deaths such as this that are related if it is in the public interest, and we think it is in the public interest," said the group's Yanni Pappas-Acreman.

"What we would hope to get out of it would be more information about the causes of death, but more importantly, recommendations leading from those facts."

Provincial Coroners Service spokeswoman Barb McLintock said the agency is considering whether to convene a death review panel instead of an inquest.

"The experts sit down for a few days and look at the issues surrounding this and then see if they can come up with some recommendations, which are like inquest recommendations," she said.

"They're passed on to the chief coroner and then the agencies involved."

She said it may be a month before a decision is made on whether to review the deaths, the CBC said.

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