Leighton's death should be ruled accidental: coroner's counsel

Jurors at the inquest into Eric Leighton's death are being told to rule the 18-year-old was killed in an accident. The coroner's counsel is arguing similar accidents are preventable.

Because there was no foresight or intent in the circumstances that led to Leighton's death, coroner's counsel Robert Wadden is suggesting the jury rule it an accident.

The jury doesn't have any legal obligation to make recommendations, but Wadden said if they do, they have the opportunity to prevent future tragedies and give some meaning to Leighton's death.

He offered some suggestions for recommendations, including annual inspections of all Ontario shop classrooms and improvements to mandatory training for teachers.

The lawyers for the ministries of labour and education, the school board and the teachers' union will also make closing arguments before the jury begins deliberation.

Leighton was killed on May 26, 2011 in a shop class explosion at Mother Teresa High School in Barrhaven. He was working on a project to convert a used oil drum into a barbecue and was cutting into the drum with a grinder when it exploded.

Despite emergency crews' efforts, Leighton was not revived and was pronounced dead that evening from head injuries a pathologist deemed not survivable.

Engineers have proven an aerosol spray used to clean the oil drum provided the fuel for the explosion.

The inquest isn't designed to find fault but merely to explain what happened and provide the opportunity for changes to be made to prevent future deaths.

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