Nova Scotia removes shackles from hospital patient facing deportation
'It sounded like we had gone a little too far,' says Justice Minister Diana Whalen
A 33-year-old hospital patient who's facing a deportation order is no longer shackled to her bed at the Dartmouth General, says provincial Justice Minister Diana Whalen.
Restraints used to secure Fliss Cramman were removed Thursday morning after Whalen asked her staff to look into the matter and review the risk the woman posed.
"It sounded like we had gone a little too far," Whalen said, adding two guards assigned to the woman should have been sufficient security.
Protocol dictates that prisoners transferred to hospital are restrained, she said, but a review needs to be done more quickly to assess flight risk and safety balanced with the health of the individual.
Cramman was under guard by the province's corrections staff at the request of Canada Border Services Agency who wanted the woman detained.
Health Minister Leo Glavine was open about his distaste in the case.
"I haven't been to her hospital room but when I have a view of somebody chained to a bed, it brings back the 19th century, not the 21st," the minister told reporters Thursday.
"I'll be honest, I am very appalled that that circumstance would exist today especially in light of there was already security in that room in a hospital setting. I find that very inappropriate."
'Something was missed'
The federal government wants to deport Cramman to the U.K. on Nov. 4. There was a detention hearing earlier this month but the woman was too ill to take part.
Her advocates, including the woman's doctor, argued against deporting Cramman.
The woman was a ward of the government, after experiencing sexual abuse and being removed from her parents's custody, and was not aware that she did not have citizenship, they said. She has no ties to Britain and no supports or access to the health care she requires there, they said.
"There are a lot of questions in this particular case," Whalen said.
"On a humanitarian level, I certainly feel that it looks like something was missed along the years that she's grown up in Canada."
With files from Jean LaRoche