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[ Car 1518 Seating, S. Daniel. Starshell Maps,   ]

Perhaps the most sustained investigations of the explosion occurred at two inquests that immediately followed it. One, at Grand Forks, was hurriedly convened at 8:00pm on the evening of October 29 under the direction of coroner Dr. Charles M. Kingston. It examined the bodies of the four men who were killed outright and whose bodies were recovered at the scene: Peter Verigin, John McKie, Haakum Singh and Peter J. Campbell. That inquest concluded on November 1. The second inquest, presided over by coroner Dr. Henry Hector Mackenzie, was held at Nelson November 1, 3, 4 and 5 and involved a lengthier investigation into the deaths of W.J. Armstrong, Harry Bishop, Neil Murray and Mary Strelaeff. For reasons of space the verbatim account of the Nelson inquest is not reproduced here. However, extensive news reports of it are included.

At the inquests a formal legal process prevailed that might have made it difficult for Doukhobors to participate effectively. The Nelson inquest was, however, attended by two lawyers, C.R. Hamilton, K.C., and J. O'Shea, K.C., representing, according to the transcript, "various interests." The fact that each had the prestigious title of K.C. (King's Counsel) meant that their clients were most likely businesses, perhaps the CPR itself.

Looking back at it now, the treatment of the Nelson inquest transcript tells much about how lax was the entire investigation. In late April 1925, six months after the event, neither the CPR nor the B.C. ministry of the attorney general had a copy of the transcript of the Nelson inquest because the court stenographer had not completed it. In fact, even today, the B.C. Archives does not appear to possess a complete transcript of the Nelson inquest, as the typewritten numbering shows 57 pages missing out of a total of 138 pages.

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