Toronto Star

Feb. 10, 01:00 EDT

This time, listen

Toronto Star

The coroner's jury did its job well. It issued 58 urgent recommendations, designed to prevent the kind of domestic violence that cost Gillian Hadley her life.

The Pickering woman was shot in the head by her estranged husband, Ralph, 18 months ago. He then killed himself.

Sadly, coroner's juries have done good jobs before too many times before.

Four years ago, an equally dedicated jury made 213 recommendations, after examining the chillingly similar murder-suicide of Arlene May and Randy Iles. Had its advice been followed, Gillian Hadley might be alive today.

But the provincial government dithered for months, then set up a committee, then fell silent. The jury's plea for more funding for social assistance and transition houses went unheeded. Its call for the courts to get tough on men who breach restraining orders, obviously didn't filter through to Durham, where Ralph Hadley, who repeatedly violated court orders, was released into his parents' care.

Domestic violence is a preventable crime, as Dr. Bonita Porters, deputy chief coroner, stressed Friday. It follows known and predictable patterns.

It certainly did in Gillian Hadley's case. She knew she was in danger. The police knew. Her neighbours knew. The courts should have known.

If the government ignores the recommendations of the inquest into Hadley's death, it will be setting the stage for further tragedies.

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