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Call for inquiry into Halifax man’s hospital death premature: minister

Click to play video: 'Halifax family looking for answers after father of two dies in provincial custody' Halifax family looking for answers after father of two dies in provincial custody
WATCH: A Halifax family is seeking answers after a man died in custody at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. Gregory Hiles, a father of two, was reportedly found hanging from his sheets last week. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, Nova Scotia won’t commit to a public inquiry into his death – Aug 28, 2019

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.

READ MORE: Local non-profit seeks public inquiry into death of Halifax man in custody

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Death of inmate prompts changes at Burnside jail

Nova Scotia does not require mandatory public inquests into deaths in custody like most other Canadian jurisdictions.

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