External review confirms 2010 death of Holly Bartlett was accidental

Officials search under Halifax's McKay Bridge following Holly Bartlett's fall on March 27, 2010. File/Global News

HALIFAX – A review into the Halifax police investigation of a blind woman found lying beneath a bridge has reaffirmed the force’s position that her death was accidental.

Quebec City police were asked in February to conduct the review after Holly Bartlett’s family contacted Halifax Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais to say they had concerns about the investigation.

Blais said he hopes the review would give some comfort to Bartlett’s family.

“In no way, shape or form are we going to be able to assuage the pain the family and the friends are going through at this point,” he said. “It is our hope there will be at least a little bit of closure they will be able to have as a result of this report.”

Bartlett was discovered unconscious under the MacKay Bridge on March 27, 2010, and died in hospital the next day.

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The Halifax police investigation at the time concluded the 31-year-old woman had become disoriented after leaving a taxi in the early morning hours and fell 10 metres off a concrete abutment.

While the Quebec City police review says Bartlett’s death was accidental, it took issue with what it said was a lack of thorough investigative steps.

Blais said the case would not be re-opened unless new credible information for doing so is brought to police.

“There’s no doubt there are unanswered questions, not because the investigative tasks weren’t completed, [but] because the evidence is not there to be able to support [re-opening] it,” he said. “In many of our cases and many investigations in general, we don’t have a 100 per cent clear picture of what transpired.”

The Halifax Regional Police said it is concerned that the Quebec City police did not interview each officer involved in the file, but it is determining how to best implement the review’s recommendations.

With files from Julia Wong, Global News

Read the full review below:


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