Third review of Victoria Paul case concludes; no charges warranted

Raissa Tetanish
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‘The findings are there with all three reports, so hopefully this brings some closure to the Paul family’

TRURO – A third review into the death of Victoria Rose Paul has determined the medical evidence doesn’t support charges.

Truro Police Service Chief David MacNeil said in late February that the department was sending the incident, in which the 44-year-old Indian Brook woman died following a period of incarceration at the Truro Police Service, to the Public Prosecution Service for a review.

“Throughout the investigation, we wanted to be open, and with the first review completed by the Halifax Regional Police, there were recommendations we implemented, and then again with the second review conducted by the province there were recommendations we have implemented,” said the chief, following a press release stating the outcome of the Public Prosecution Service’s review of the incident. Neither of those reviews, however, investigated criminal culpability.

“But even after those reviews, there were still – among the family and the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association – some questions around the criminality involved in the matter and if they were addressed. I felt it prudent to have the matter sent to the Public Prosecution Service.”

“The findings are there with all three reports, so hopefully this brings some closure to the Paul family,” said MacNeil.

Paul was arrested on Aug. 28, 2009 for public drunkenness and was taken to hospital the day after being arrested. She had suffered a stroke. Her family made the decision to take her off life support and she died on Sept. 5.

The province's medical examiner determined that the stroke likely occurred while Paul was in custody and was so severe that she wouldn't have survived even if she'd been immediately treated.

Following a review by Halifax Regional Police, Justice Minister Ross Landry ordered an independent review, which indicated police didn’t properly monitor Paul’s health while in custody. The review noted Paul wasn’t medically assessed or taken to hospital until 10 hours after she was placed in cells.

The review said Paul was left lying on the cement floor in her own urine for four hours.

While she hasn’t yet received the report of the Public Prosecution Service, Cheryl Maloney, the president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, said the association is “disappointed but not surprised” by the findings.

“We are disappointed that despite the findings, Sergeant Henderson is still working in a professional capacity and not facing any sort of criminal or professional reprimands for his failings,” said a press release issued by the association.

“Where we have exhausted all avenues for Victoria’s case, we can only pray that this is not going to be the standard of care for Aboriginal people in the justice system or the standard of care for Aboriginal women in particular.”

 

rtetanish@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Organizations: Public Prosecution Service, Truro Police Service

Geographic location: Nova Scotia Native Women, Indian Brook

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