Nova Scotia’s justice minister says any type of inquiry would be “premature at this time” into the death in custody of a Halifax man at the East Coast Forensic Hospital.
Mark Furey says the Nova Scotia Health Authority is reviewing the death, part of the necessary “first steps” before his department would consider an inquiry.
According to a report in the Halifax Examiner, 39-year-old Gregory Hiles was found hanging by his bed sheets at the psychiatric hospital in Dartmouth, N.S., overnight between Aug. 20 and Aug. 21. He was taken off life support on Tuesday.
Martha Paynter, chair of the non-profit Women’s Wellness Initiative, which advocates for women in the corrections system, has called for a public inquiry on behalf of the Hiles family.
Paynter says there are several cases each year where someone dies in custody in Nova Scotia, and that should “should give us pause given that jails and psychiatric hospitals are public institutions.
Nova Scotia does not require mandatory public inquests into deaths in custody like most other Canadian jurisdictions.