Truro police call on prosecutors to review woman's death
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013 1:24PM AST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:27PM AST
There are new developments in the case of a Nova Scotia woman who died after suffering a stroke while in police custody.
Following a discussion with the Nova Scotia Justice Department, the Truro Police Service has referred the case to the Public Prosecution Service for independent legal advice.
Truro Police Chief Dave MacNeil says this will identify whether criminal charges are warranted in the death of Victoria Rose Paul.
“If our people did something that was criminal, we want them held accountable,” says MacNeil. “However, I do have faith in our services and our officers.”
The 44-year-old Indian Brook woman had been out celebrating her son’s birthday when she was arrested outside of a Truro bar for public intoxication on Aug. 28, 2009.
Paul suffered a stroke in the Truro police lockup and was left for five hours, lying in her own urine, before an ambulance was called.
She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax the next day and died in hospital on Sept. 5. 2009.
A subsequent review ordered by Justice Minister Ross Landry found that police did not properly monitor Paul's health while she was in custody.
The review said Paul wasn't medically assessed or taken to hospital until 10 hours after she was put in jail.
The Halifax Regional Police also investigated the case, but neither review fully addressed whether there was enough evidence to lay criminal charges.
MacNeil says Paul’s family is concerned about the absence of a conclusion in the case and he hopes to put that to rest.
“This has been a difficult journey for Ms. Paul's family. It's understandable that they would want to put any outstanding questions to rest,” he says in a statement.
“We all want to help bring closure for Ms. Paul's family and loved ones. I hope that in taking this step, they will get the information they need.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Rick Grant and The Canadian Press