New information prompts review of investigation into N.S. girl's death
Published Friday, April 22, 2016 2:21PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, April 22, 2016 6:37PM ADT
The Nova Scotia Department of Justice is calling for an independent review relating to the 2005 death of three-year-old Samantha Mercer.
Samantha Mercer died after she sustained a significant brain injury in her Truro home in March 2005. Court documents state police went to the home a day after Samantha was taken to hospital.
Her grandmother, Shannon Mercer, visited Samantha’s grave on Friday, hours after she learned her granddaughter’s death would be reviewed.
“Something I waited so long for and that’s all I ever wanted,” Mercer said about the review.
Nova Scotia Justice Minister Diana Whalen says the review was prompted by new information that came to light that she hadn't seen before.
Last month, CTV Atlantic aired an investigative report which included letters between Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service and the Truro Police Service.
Whalen says the review will focus on the process of the initial investigation, including what was done by Department of Justice, prosecutors and the Truro Police Service.
“I felt that was pertinent and if there was one piece then maybe there are other things we don't know. I just want to make sure we haven't left any stone unturned,” says Whalen.
Whalen says she wants the review to reassure Samantha Mercer's family and the community.
Terry Dean Allen was charged with manslaughter in Samantha’s death. He testified that she fell down the stairs. A judge acquitted him at trial, saying the Crown failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Samantha’s family was devastated by the verdict and still wonders why certain pieces of evidence were never presented to the court, including a dented piece of wall from Samantha’s bedroom.
“They are reviewing from the police all the way up to the crown to see if maybe there was something that went wrong,” says Shannon Mercer.
Her grandmother has been pursuing a review into the case for more than two years and says she is relieved the province will be reviewing how the case was handled.
“I just want Sammy to get some kind of justice. Just a little bit of justice,” says Shannon Mercer.
Prince Edward Island Police Commissioner and retired Chief Justice Gerard Mitchell will conduct the review.
“See what lessons that can be learned if any and address any lingering concerns someone might have,” says retired Chief Justice Mitchell.
With files from CTV’s Kelland Sundahl