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Monday, October 26, 2009

N.S. corrections officer didn't know man who died in custody was schizophrenic

October 26, 2009
Canadian Press

HALIFAX, N.S. - A Nova Scotia corrections officer says he did not know a man who died in custody 30 hours after being Tasered by Halifax police was schizophrenic nor that he had been hit with the stun gun.

Ian Prall responded to a call for help from corrections officers at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility on Nov. 22, 2007, as they struggled with Howard Hyde, who was being held on an assault charge.

An inquiry into Hyde's death has heard that the 45-year-old was escorted down a corridor to a nearby cell, where another struggle ensued and he blacked out, never regaining consciousness.

Under questioning today by lead counsel Dan MacRury, Prall testified that he did not know that Hyde had been up all night, pacing in his cell and talking to himself.

Had he known, Prall said he wouldn't have done anything differently in the situation because officers still needed to control Hyde.

But Prall later told Kevin MacDonald, a lawyer who represents Hyde's family, that he might have contacted a nurse if he had been told about Hyde's behaviour and officers suggested he might need health care.

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