Family of Cape Breton teen hopes public inquiry will shed light on his death
The family of Joneil Hanna has new hope a public inquiry into his death will provide the answers they've been looking for.
The teen was killed last year on the way home from a graduation party.
His family has never been satisfied with the way the case was investigated by Cape Breton Regional Police.
Just days after what would've been Joneil Hanna's 18th birthday, his mother Jenn received the autopsy report from the Nova Scotia's Medical Examiner about her son's death on that fateful night in June of last year.
“I got a glimpse of how much his heart weighed and how much his brain weighed,” said Jenn Hanna. “Like, who wants to know how much their kids heart and brain weigh.?”
Hanna says it's been a tough year and she continues to struggle as the anniversary of her son's death approaches.
But there was some hope Tuesday after the family received word the Nova Scotia Police Review Board plans to conduct a public hearing into Joneil's death.
“It's another set of eyes to go over the facts basically and see what everyone else knows that the police are missing,” said John Parr, Joneil’s father.
Hanna was struck and killed by a vehicle after leaving a nearby grad party last June.
Cape Breton Regional Police ruled the driver -- who also attended the party -- was not impaired and did not give him a breathalyzer.
Parr thinks the police did not conduct a proper investigation.
“Nothing seems to add up that I know of,” he said.
Halifax regional police conducted an investigation as part of the complaints process a few months ago and found police in Cape Breton did nothing wrong, saying the authorities had no direct knowledge there was underage drinking at the party and that the driver showed no signs of impairment.
“The police review board can alter the decision of the police department and they can also alter any penalty that the police department has decided upon,” said Jeff Garber of the Nova Scotia Police Review Board.
The police review board can't say if new charges are possible, but did say if new information comes out during the hearing that could lead to additional processes.
“It's rough,” said Jenn Hanna. “It's the worst thing anyone can ever go through. I don't wish it on anybody.”
There's no word yet on when the hearing will take place.
The 21 year-old driver of the vehicle, who is charged with obstruction of justice, will be back in court on June 12. It's at that time the judge will decided whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial on that charge.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.