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Ashley Smith inquest resumes, family requests a mistrial be declared

The family of Ashley Smith is demanding a restart of the inquest into the troubled teen's prison death.

Family lawyer Mr. Julian Falconer is arguing in coroners court that a mistrial should be declared on the inquest, which began in May.

The proceeding had initially resumed last Monday under new coroner Dr. John Carlisle but was quickly adjourned when a motion from the family was submitted.

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The motion challenges Mr. Carlisle's jurisdiction to pick up on an inquest which had begun under someone else. The previous coroner in the inquest, Dr. Bonita Porter, was replaced at the end of June.

Mr. Falconer says the family isn't opposed to Carlisle presiding over the inquest, but wants proceedings to start fresh.

The inquest is an effort to find out why the 19-year-old Ms. Smith was able to choke herself to death with a strip of cloth at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., almost four years ago.

Before she was replaced, Ms. Porter had promised to rule on three issues, including the Correctional Service of Canada's request for prison guards' faces to be blurred in videos.

Another issue was whether the inquest should include videos from a Quebec prison that Smith's family says show her being restrained and forcibly injected with medication.

Mr. Falconer says the inquest needs a "clean break" so Mr. Carlisle doesn't have to grapple with ruling on issues Ms. Porter heard evidence on.

Ms. Smith, a native of Moncton, N.B., had been in and out of custody since 2003, much of that time spent in segregation.

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The inquest is examining the last 11 months of her life, when she was transferred between facilities 17 times.

The inquest has heard Ms. Smith frequently tied various material around her neck but wasn't trying to kill herself as she did it for stimulation.

Ms. Smith was first arrested at 13 for assault and causing a disturbance. Her other run-ins with the law were nuisance offences such as making harassing phone calls, pulling a fire alarm and throwing apples at a postal worker.

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