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Family of Victim Reacts to Further Delay in Coyle Sentencing

Statement on Behalf of a Client

For immediate release: September 12, 2023

The following statement was made today by Douglas W. Judson, counsel for members of the family of the late Hermina Fletcher:


“This morning in the Ontario Court of Justice, the sentencing of Lindsey Coyle, the former nurse responsible for the 2015 death of Hermina Fletcher, was set for January 16, 2024.


“Our clients are angry, frustrated, and distressed by the apparent complacency of prosecutors in bringing this matter to a close. Justice Joubert specifically directed at the sentencing hearing last month that he expected counsel to find a date for sentencing as soon as October. Despite that very clear direction, today the Crown Attorney’s office consented to another significant delay in any accountability for Ms. Coyle’s heinous and disgusting actions.


“The delays in this prosecution are hurting the community’s confidence in both the local healthcare and justice systems. Ms. Coyle killed Mrs. Fletcher in January 2015. Despite being fired by the hospital that month and having her nursing license revoked shortly thereafter, she was not charged with murder until August 2019. Over 3 years later, in August 2022, she entered a guilty plea, after which Crown counsel then kicked the can on sentencing for an entire year.


“January 16, 2024 will be 9 years to the day since Ms. Coyle was suspended by her employer, Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc., in relation to their investigation of missing drugs at La Verendrye Hospital. We now know, from the facts admitted by Ms. Coyle in court, that she likely targeted other vulnerable hospital patients. And yet we have received no response or acknowledgement from the Minister of Health concerning the Fletchers’ request for an investigation into these serious and disturbing revelations about patient safety in a public hospital.


“Let’s put this in perspective: an elderly, vulnerable patient died at the hands of a nurse. The nurse continues to show little remorse and to attack people in the community who so much as share online news of her criminal prosecution. There are material indications that there may be other victims and that people at Riverside may have known. The Crown is seeking a sentence of just 2 years for this repugnant misconduct. The disinterest and inaction of our government and institutions is shocking, and local families and patients - past and present - deserve more reassurance than that.


“At this point the Fletchers are resigned to the fact that no one in the justice system seems to care or appreciate the gravity of this case. Does the Minister of Health? When will she act?”


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Contact:

Douglas W. Judson

Email: doug@judsonhowie.ca

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