Breanna Kannick's Death Ruled "Accidental"


Nick Murray

The inquest into the tragic death of a beautiful, young resident of Moose Jaw has come to a close and her death has been ruled an "accident".

On August 20th, 2015, the 21 year old Breanna Kannick, died suddenly, and somewhat mysteriously, while in custody at the White Birch Remand Unit in Regina.

With 20 witness testimonies, the inquest lasted ten days, and the final deliberation took well over five hours, but ultimately her death was ruled "accidental".

The jury were given the task of deciding whether the death was because of natural causes, a suicide, a homicide, undetermined or an accident. Alma Wiebe, a coroner and the lawyer whose duty it was to oversee the inquest only permitted the jury to choose between those five options.
The details leading up to the moment of Kannick's passing were presented to the jury in full detail. It was discovered that Kannick succumbed to "asphyxiation due to aspirations."

It was also discovered that at one period, while in custody, Kannick had fallen and cracked her head on a steel desk before colliding with the hard ground. She was slow to recover from the fall, taking upwards of five minutes to get back into the bed.

The guard on duty saw Kannick on her knees but claims she assumed Kannick was simply getting herself prepared to go in front of the court, which was scheduled to happen shortly after her death.

It was also discovered that before falling, Kannick was having difficulty breathing and that she had requested to see a doctor on multiple occasions.

Despite the fall, the autopsy results showed no signs of significant head trauma.

The jury watched video footage of the events preceding Kannick's death. In the footage they bore witness to correctional officers and a nurse attempting to save Kannick's life.

At one point in the footage Kannick was seen vomiting black bile while the nurse rubbed her back.

Kannick was a known opioid addict and at the time of her death was going through serious withdrawals.

White Birch Remand Centre, it was discovered, did not have a protocol for dealing with opioid withdrawal and there were no written records documenting Kannick's health woes.

The inquest also presented a list of 10 recommendations for the Ministry of Corrections and policing that included the better monitoring of inmates, better training, improved staffing numbers and qualifications, thoroughly documented written communication between employees and documented checks on inmates every thirty minutes.

Clearly, the goal being to prevent something like this from happening ever again; and it seems to have had an impact as, on Monday, White Birch rolled out its first opioid withdrawal protocol.