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Quebec coroner to hold public hearings on death of homeless Innu man in Montreal

Raphaël André was found unconscious and pronounced dead in Montreal on Jan. 17, 2021. (Submitted by John Tessier/The Open Door - image credit)
Raphaël André was found unconscious and pronounced dead in Montreal on Jan. 17, 2021. (Submitted by John Tessier/The Open Door - image credit)

The Quebec coroner's office has announced that public hearings on the death of Raphaël Napa André will be held in May and June.

The 51-year-old Innu man was found in a portable toilet, mere steps away from the Open Door shelter in January 2021, after public health officials had ordered it closed overnight.

André was pronounced dead at the scene, at the corner of Milton Street and Parc Avenue. He was originally from the community of Matimekush-Lac John in northern Quebec.

Montreal police determined the death wasn't criminal and turned the investigation over to the coroner.

According to a news release Monday, the coroner's office says the hearings will be from May 13 to 24 and from June 3 to 14.

Coroner Stéphanie Gamache has been appointed to preside over this inquiry.

"The hearings will allow any interested party to express themselves regarding the circumstances of this death in order to analyze all contributing factors and propose solutions for better protection of human life," said the news release.

Beyond that, the coroner's office is not issuing any more statements on the matter. Those wishing to learn more about the hearings or wishing to participate, can go to the coroner's website, where the information is available in French only.

Soon after André's death, John Tessier, an intervention co-ordinator at the Open Door, said there are "a lot of people in here who are very sad. He was respected and people cared about him."