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Monday, July 06, 2009

Restraint, Taser use under scrutiny as Hyde inquiry resumes

July 6, 2009
CBC News

An inquiry has resumed into the 2007 death of Howard Hyde, a Nova Scotia man who died 30 hours after he was jolted with a Taser.

Hyde, 45, was arrested Nov. 21, 2007, and taken to police headquarters in Halifax, where officers used a stun gun on him. He died in a Dartmouth jail after a struggle with guards.

Lawyers gathered in a Halifax courtroom Monday morning to discuss whether video surveillance tapes from the police station and the jail should be available online.

The inquiry is being webcast — the first time a fatality inquiry in Nova Scotia is visible to people outside the hearing room.

Judge Anne Derrick is expected to hear opening statements from lawyers later Monday, but no testimony.

Kevin MacDonald, the lawyer representing Hyde's family, said his clients are looking for more detail about what happened when Hyde was arrested.

"They're not sure what role the Taser played," MacDonald told reporters. "There are other aspects of this that are just as concerning to them, such as the way Mr. Hyde was restrained."

Nova Scotia's chief medical examiner ruled last fall that Hyde died of excited delirium due to paranoid schizophrenia, and declared his death accidental.

The inquiry, ordered by former justice minister Cecil Clarke, is expected to focus on the circumstances surrounding Hyde's death, including the transfer process from police headquarters to the jail.

Derrick can make recommendations relating to any matter that arises during the hearing.

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