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Mother of Corey Rogers ‘absolutely disgusted’ after booking officers acquitted in his death

Click to play video: 'Mother of Corey Rogers ‘absolutely disgusted’ after booking officers acquitted in his death' Mother of Corey Rogers ‘absolutely disgusted’ after booking officers acquitted in his death
WATCH: A Halifax mother says she continues to be let down by the justice system after two former special constables were acquitted in her son's death. Jeannette Rogers lost her son Corey in 2016 after he was taken to a Halifax police lockup cell. As Graeme Benjamin reports, she says the judge's decision is another example of the system leaving victims behind. – Jun 3, 2022

A Halifax mother says she continues to be let down by the justice system after two special constables were acquitted in connection with her son’s jail cell death.

Corey Rogers died in a Halifax Regional Police dry cell on June 15, 2016, after he was arrested outside the IWK hospital, where his daughter had recently been born.

Officers had put a spit hood over his head after he became agitated outside the police station – the medical examiner said he died after choking on his own vomit.

Corey Rogers, 41, was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead at Halifax Regional Police headquarters’ cells on June 16, 2016.
Corey Rogers, 41, was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead at Halifax Regional Police headquarters’ cells on June 16, 2016. Inmemoriam.com

Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner, two booking officers who were responsible for keeping watch of him, were found guilty of criminal negligence in 2019.

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However, the Court of Appeal later overturned that decision and ordered a new trial, saying the judge erred in his instructions to the jury.

Read more: Two booking officers acquitted in Nova Scotia jail cell death after retrial

On Thursday, both officers were acquitted.

“I was absolutely disgusted and aggravated,” said Jeanette Rogers, a day after the decision was handed down by Justice James Chipman.

In his decision, Justice Chipman said, “given all of the evidence, it cannot be said that the spit hood was a contributing factor on a criminal standard” due to Corey Rogers’ blood-alcohol content at the time. He added that in hindsight, both of the accused made poor calls in not sending Rogers to hospital.

Jeanette Rogers says she didn’t see the verdict coming.

“The way (Justice Chipman) was talking he almost sounded like he was going to find them guilty,” she said. “But then at the end when he said they were acquitted I said, “Good Lord!”

Click to play video: 'Police lacked ‘common sense’ handling N.S. man who suffocated in Halifax cell: lawyer' Police lacked ‘common sense’ handling N.S. man who suffocated in Halifax cell: lawyer
Police lacked ‘common sense’ handling N.S. man who suffocated in Halifax cell: lawyer – Sep 8, 2021

The mother says the past six years have been remarkably difficult and she feels the justice system isn’t accounting for her feelings.

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“(Justice Chipman) said, ‘Oh, they’ve waited almost six years now and it’s so hard on them,’ but what did he think it was for me?” Jeanette Rogers said.

Read more: Review board says Halifax police lack of training on spit hoods was ‘very concerning’

It’s still unclear whether the Crown will file an appeal. In the meantime, Rogers says she needs to step away from the courtroom and focus on herself.

“I guess I’m probably going to try and rest a bit and hopefully get better from the PTSD. Yesterday didn’t help,” she said.

– with files from The Canadian Press

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