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Inquest told young people climbed to catwalk at Regina arts centre

REGINA – A security guard has testified at an inquest that he found people wandering the Conexus Arts Centre before on the main stage or in the theatre, but never someone who climbed up to the catwalk.

The inquest is looking into the case of 17-year-old Jaidan Slaferek, who died in a 12-metre fall on Jan. 15, 2012.

It has been told that procedures at the Regina arts facility have been changed since the girl’s death.

Brian Stubbings says he was posted that night at the security staff entrance behind the stage.

He was turning off the house lights above the seats when he heard sounds coming from near the darkened stage.

He went to see who was there and found two panicked young men on a stairwell backstage, but it wasn’t until he turned on the stage lights that he fully realized what had happened.

“When I saw the scene, I realized it probably had to be the catwalk,” he testified.

The executive director of the Conexus Arts Centre, Jim McCrum, testified the catwalk hadn’t been used for years.

At the time that Slaferek died, all the doors getting to the catwalk were unlocked. The level before the catwalk is called a fly gallery and is only accessed by stage crews during live productions. The door to that area is marked with danger signs indicating only authorized personnel should go up.

McCrum outlined how security has been tightened around the whole building since then.

Locks have been upgraded and only security and management staff will have keys to the doors to the fly gallery used by stage technicians, who will have to sign them in and out.

Along with locking doors to dangerous areas, Conexus Arts Centre elevators will be keyed so visitors can only get to the areas that are actually in use.

The jury will make recommendations to prevent future deaths such as Slaferek’s but will not be assigning blame.