Nova Scotia

Guilty verdict in former Braemore Home assault

A former licensed practical nurse has been found guilty of assaulting a 60-year-old resident of a Cape Breton institution for people with disabilities.

Donald Bernard Donovan slapped resident in the face

A former licensed practical nurse has been found guilty of assaulting a 60-year-old resident of a Cape Breton institution for people with disabilities.

Donald Bernard Donovan, of Glace Bay, worked at Braemore Home Corp. in Sydney River for 11 years and looked after a woman who couldn't speak, walk, feed or dress herself.

Another worker saw Donovan, 55, slap the resident in the face in an incident on Aug. 18, 2011. He was charged that October.

Donovan testified he hit the woman's tray while gently turning her chin with his other hand.

Judge Jean Whalen said the two actions could not be confused and found Donovan guilty of assault.

"Court finally decided to speak for the victims, whereas it's usually the other way around so this here is a good justification," said Mary MacNeil, the victim's sister.

"Anybody who is assaulted deserves to have justice but a lot of people have that attitude because they are mentally challenged or whatever, they're in a different category. They are not. An assault is an assault."

Braemore Home Corp. found itself under scrutiny after the Nova Scotia government launched an external investigation of its operations and found a "climate of mistrust and suspicion" where staff and management have an adversarial relationship.

The provincial government suspended Braemore's licence and replaced its executive director. The residential care facility announced this week it was in the process of renaming itself the Breton Ability Centre.

MacNeil said changes have been made at the facility and her sister seems much happier.

Donovan did not comment on the verdict as he left the courtroom. He will be sentenced on Feb. 7.

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