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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Tasered teen gets acquittal restored

August 8, 2009
Chronicle Herald

The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal has restored the acquittal of a teenaged girl charged with assaulting two police officers and resisting arrest.

The 17-year-old was acquitted in Nova Scotia youth court in Feb. 2008, but that was overturned and a conviction entered by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in January of this year. The girl’s lawyer appealed that decision in June and the Appeal Court handed down its decision last month.

The girl’s mother called Halifax Regional Police to their downtown Dartmouth home on Feb. 12, 2007, because the 17-year-old was angry her sister had taken her purse and was threatening to damage the house, the original trial heard.

She was quietly looking out of her bedroom window when officers arrived, but became rude and aggressive when police told her that her mom asked them to remove her from the home.

Officers had resorted to using a Taser on the girl when she would not leave her bedroom and fought police when they tried to arrest her.

The youth court judge ruled the girl was justified in resisting arrest because officers had overstepped their authority, but the Supreme Court judge ruled the girl’s conduct escalated and became a breach of the peace once the officers began to arrest the teen. That meant that when she resisted, police had grounds to charge her with assaulting police and resisting arrest.

The Court of Appeal said the Supreme Court judge altered the trial judge’s finding to create the anticipated breach of the peace and doing so was an error in law.

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