Stephen McNeil meets with Nichele Benn’s mother, no commitments made

HALIFAX – The mother of a young woman accused of biting a health-care worker says she’s hopeful a conversation she had Friday with Nova Scotia’s premier will lead to policy changes for people with intellectual disabilities.

Brenda Hardiman met with Premier Stephen McNeil to discuss Nichele Benn’s case, but the premier made no commitments afterwards.

The 26-year-old Benn was charged with assault and assault with a weapon after she allegedly bit and hit an employee at the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Halifax on Dec. 12.

Benn has epilepsy, cerebral palsy and an organic brain disorder that causes her to have aggressive behaviour.

Her mother says she should not be dragged through the justice system.

Hardiman says she had a meaningful discussion with the premier about her daughter’s case and about broader systemic issues related to putting people with intellectual disabilities before the courts.

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McNeil says no promises were made, but he says the Community Services Department will follow up with Hardiman.

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