We arrived at the court house at 8 am, and waited in our car in the parking lot as the prospective jurors began to arrive, one at a time and in groups. They looked like ordinary people, men and women, young, middle aged and seniors, some well dressed, others casual. It was hard to tell who the Coroner might choose for the five person jury out of this group which is going to decide the fate of the Coroners Inquest.
Jury selection began at 9:30 and seemed to drag on and on for a long time, each person was called up and spent anywhere from as little as 3 minutes to as long as 10 or 15 minutes with the Coroner and Crown Prosecutor who we assume were behind that closed door interviewing them for their suitability. We know of at least one of Daniel's friends, a young 20 year old man who practically grew up with Daniel, who was subpoened and who made it clear that he was "a close friend of the Hains" but they made him come all the way from Moncton where he now lives to appear at the Jury selection anyways.
At 12:45, the Coroner and Crown Prosecutor came out of the back room and told the room that the Sheriff would select the jury members from a list that had been culled from the 34 candidates. And in a matter of a couple of minutes, five jurors were sworn in, two women and three men, whose job it will be to listen to the testimony and hopefully, make recommendations to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
Mack Truck Driver Appears
A break followed until 2 pm and when the court reconvened the first witness was the driver of the Mack Truck.
Our Greatest Fears Confirmed
Then came Mr. Wayne Lord, the driver of the 15 passenger van. It was difficult for us to hear him as he described the events of January 11, 2008, but we did.
The driver was unaware of the regulations, polices and laws governing the transportation of children to off-site extra-curricular activities.
He had never seen, did not know of, or never knew the substance of Regulation 512 and Regulation 513, Policy 504 and he had not filled out a pre-inspection form for at least two years.
He did not know the difference between winter tires and all season tires.
We see him as symptomatic of an entire system which had gone completely awry, where rules and regulations were ignored, all the way from the driver, to the activity organizer (whose name we still don't know), the Vice-Principal in charge of extra-curricular sports (who also happens to be an owner in the company that owned the van), the principal (who is also an owner of the van), the Superintendent who is supposed to be in charge of the principals and ultimately, the Minister of Education, Kelly Lamrock. Everyone, it seems, wasn't doing their job. If they had, our children would be alive today.
As for the Inquest itself, we still don't know who will be witnesses today but we heard it might be the pathologist and we suspect that the survivors of the crash may also have to testify so we are prepared with questions for them.
This points to another weakness in the Coroners Act. Why can't we know who the witnesses will be in advance? The excuse that the "media" may bother them. We don't have any rights to full disclosure, we should know who is going to testify so we can be prepared and we should have all the documentation that the Coroner and Crown Prosecutor have.
At this time, we are still waiting for the RCMP Report of November 12, 2008. We have been waiting for this report since the day it came out and had to make a Freedom of Information request. When will we get it, likely, a long long time after the Inquest is over.