For the first time in Edmonton, a manslaughter charge has been laid in a fentanyl overdose death. Edmonton Police made the ground breaking move after an autopsy and toxicology results came back from earlier this year.
“This is the first time the Edmonton Police Service has charged a dealer in relationship to a death,” acting staff sgt Dave Monson told reporters. “We take all of our sudden death investigations very seriously. If there’s evidence to lay a charge we will be laying those charges, so the dealers need to know that.”
Szymon Kalich, 33, was found dead in the hallway of an apartment building in the area of 33 Street and 18 Avenue at around 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27, 2016.
Jordan Yarmey, 25, has been charged with manslaughter in relation to Kalich’s death.
“He was charged with manslaughter because if you can prove they knew they were trafficking a controlled substance, in this case it was fentanyl, and a reasonable person at the time would know that the controlled substance is likely to cause bodily harm, and you can show the controlled substance caused the death, this satisfies the elements of manslaughter.”
“All death investigations, we follow the evidence, and in this case the evidence pointed to the end result which was the laying of a manslaughter charge,” Monson said, who was reluctant to say much else because the case is now before the courts. “We weren’t looking for any specific case (to lay a first ever charge). Each case is investigated on its own merits and at the end of the day we had the evidence and we did lay the charge.”
“I think the message needs to be sent. This applies to any controlled substance, anybody who’s providing or dealing in those controlled substances, can be and will be held responsible for deaths if we have the evidence to lay the charge.”
Yarmey is scheduled to be in court again Oct. 27.