BURNABY, B.C. – A lawyer says an officer who became a key public figure for the RCMP when Robert Dziekanski died after a confrontation at Vancouver’s airport struggled with anxiety, depression and anger. A coroner’s inquest began today into the death by suicide of Pierre Lemaitre, who was a sergeant with the Mounties when he died in July 2013.
Inquest counsel John Orr says the jury will hear from Lemaitre’s widow, Sheila Lemaitre, about challenges her 55-year-old husband faced arising from his career and relationships.
Orr says an expert will testify that post-traumatic stress disorder can happen when someone feels unsupported at work or when they are bullied and harassed in the workplace.
Lemaitre handled media relations in the days following Dziekanski’s death in 2007 after he was jolted several times by a Taser. The RCMP spokesman was later accused of misleading the public about what happened during the fatal confrontation.
But an inquiry into Dziekanski’s death concluded that Lemaitre was not aware that some of the information he was releasing to the public was incorrect.
The coroner’s inquest also heard from police officers who responded to Lemaitre’s home in Abbotsford on the morning of his death. CPR was done for about 40 minutes but Lemaitre could not be resuscitated, the inquest heard.