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No Charges in River John Death


The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) released its report today regarding the investigation into a December 16, 2017 motor vehicle collision in River John, Nova Scotia.

Pictou District RCMP officers attended the collision scene and placed the male driver of one of the vehicles involved in the collision in custody for impaired driving. After being placed in the ambulance for treatment of his injuries, the male became aggressive and uncooperative with the efforts of the paramedics who were trying to take his vital signs. The RCMP member in attendance placed handcuffs on the male to facilitate the paramedics ability to carry out the required medical assistance on him. The male became cooperative and less aggressive.

The male, who had been speaking with the officer and the paramedic suddenly became unresponsive and stopped breathing. Resuscitation measures employed by EHS paramedics and fire department personnel were unsuccessful. An autopsy performed on December 18, 2017, showed the manner of death was “accidental” and the cause of death was due to blunt force injuries to the chest and abdomen.

The SiRT investigation revealed that the placing of handcuffs by the officer on the male did not play any role in his death. The use of handcuffs was required to give the paramedics the ability to provide the necessary medical assistance. Therefore, there are no ground for any charges against the officer. 

A complete copy of the report is available at

SiRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of the independent civilian interim director John Scott who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.


Media Contact:

John L. Scott

Interim Director

902-424-8400 (office)

902-718-9707 (cell)