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Investigation Results in Referral to Discipline
The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) today released its report regarding an investigation into the July, 2015 arrest of a 33-year-old man in Dartmouth.
On the afternoon of July 2, Halifax Regional Police (HRP) found that the man was absent from his home in breach of court ordered house arrest. Shortly after 5:30 p.m. it was learned he was at an apartment on Springhill Road in Dartmouth. One officer went to the apartment door, and another went behind the building. The officers were able to confirm the man’s presence in the apartment based on information from the building’s superintendent and because the officer behind the building saw the man attempt to escape out of a window.
The first officer entered the apartment, against the wishes of the male and female resident, after the door was opened by the female as she was leaving. Once inside, the officer found the 33-year-old man hiding in the bedroom. As the officer attempted to arrest him for breaching his court conditions there was a struggle. The man was eventually handcuffed and taken out of the apartment to HRP cells. During the night he complained of an injury to his hand and was taken to the QEII hospital, where it was determined he had suffered a fracture to a bone in his wrist.
The arrested male told SiRT he had not resisted the officer’s attempt to arrest him. However, both the second officer and a civilian witness saw him struggling with the first officer in the bedroom window. In addition, the male admitted guilt to a resisting arrest charge arising from the incident. The nature of the fracture was consistent with having been caused, unintentionally, during the struggle with the officer. There was no evidence to suggest the officer had used excessive force during the arrest and thus there were no grounds to consider any criminal charges.
However, the facts suggest the officer required judicial authorization before entering the apartment. Although his entry was not found to constitute a criminal offence, there was no prior warrant obtained. As a result, under the authority of the Police Act, SiRT referred the incident to HRP for the consideration of disciplinary proceedings against the officer.
The full report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca.
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.
Ron MacDonald, QC