Nicholas Simons, the social worker who wrote the director's review into Sherry Charlie's death, is asking government for release from a confidentiality agreement that prevents him from talking about the case. That request follows Children and Family Development Minister Stan Hagen's statement that government could have "probably" chosen a better reviewer to complete the investigation, which was made public almost three years after Sherry's death. Such reviews are usually completed in two to six months. Minister Hagen was also quoted by The Times Colonist's Jeff Rud as saying Mr. Simons "to be blunt, I think got into the political aspect of this (case) even before he got elected." That's a reference to Mr. Simons's present post as a New Democrat MLA and his attempts during the investigation to look at ministry policies that might have contributed to Sherry's death, rather than focus on the practices that directly resulted in the tragedy - as is customarily the case.
Minister Hagen made those comments following the release of child and youth officer Jane Morley's report into the "timelines, changes to terms of reference, and other matters relating to" the director's review. Her report found "the story of (the review) is not a story of conspiracy and cover-up, but rather one of organizational failure." It also seemed to suggest Mr. Simons's inexperience as a reviewer may have been at least partially to blame in delaying the release of that document. Earlier, Public Eye exclusively told you the New Democrat MLA was scheduled to testify at the coroner's inquest into Sherry's death but was struck from the witness list the day before he was set to appear.