[dehai-news] (LFP, Canada) Unable to afford a lawyer an Eritrean boy's father represents his family in court

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Tue Jan 13 2009 - 08:46:46 EST

The London Free Press
Guard's credentials expired

Tue, January 13, 2009

INQUEST: A second lifeguard was absent when Eyobell Emun, 6, drowned in the
day camp pool


Tragic timing contributed to the drowning of a six-year-old boy at a London
church's summer camp in 2006, witnesses testified at a coroner's inquest

One lifeguard and four volunteer counsellors were watching the estimated 18
six-year-olds in the Komoka pool used by West Park Baptist Church's day camp
after the second guard had taken a struggling swimmer to an on-site nurse.

"I said I was OK to watch the pool," Jennifer Butcher, now 23, recalled
telling fellow lifeguard Catherine Rogers, on July 17, 2006.

"I didn't know anything was wrong until I heard someone yelling to me there
was a little boy at the bottom of the pool."

It was Eyobell Emun, who had no vital signs by the time he was pulled from
the water.

The little boy didn't regain consciousness and died a week later.

The testimony of the two came in an emotional opening day of the inquest
into the boy's death.

A woman who ran West Park's free camp that summer testified she didn't check
Butcher's lifeguard credentials before hiring the woman well known around
the church.

"Later, I found out, through police, that (her credentials) were expired,"
said Ruth Fessahaye, also a family friend of the Emuns.

Eyobell had taken swimming lessons at the YMCA and often swam there with his
family, the jurors were told, but the boy's ability was at the "beginning

Unable to afford a lawyer, Emun's parents, Hagos and Woyni, are in the
unusual position of representing themselves at the inquest.

Hagos, a cab driver originally from Eritrea, was questioning witnesses
before testifying himself yesterday.

The couple has two teenagers and Hagos said the family hopes the inquest can
improve safety at public pools.

"Our intent here is mending our family and at the same time . . . to prevent
any other deaths for any other children."

A coroner's inquest seeks to examine the circumstances around a death and
may issue recommendations to prevent similar deaths in future.

Testimony resumes today.

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