Nova Scotia

Prosecutors to review Victoria Paul's death in custody

A sister of Victoria Paul says she welcomes a review by Nova Scotia's public prosecution service. It took police hours to call an ambulance after the 44-year-old Mi'kmaq woman suffered a stroke in custody.

Woman suffered a stroke in custody.

The sister of a Nova Scotia woman who died of a stroke following her incarceration by police says she is happy the case has been referred to the province's Public Prosecution Service to see if criminal charges should be laid, even if it brings back painful memories.

Victoria Paul died after suffering a massive stroke. (Courtesy Kimber Paul)


Victoria Rose Paul of Indian Brook died in hospital days after she was left lying unattended in the Truro police lockup after being arrested for public drunkenness in August 2009.

Two subsequent reviews examined circumstances around the case, but the issue of criminal charges has never been addressed.

"All I can do is hope, right? Just for justice for my sister," said Kimberly Paul.

"I really don't want to go through this but, the way they treated my sister, nobody deserves that."

It took more than five hours for officers to call an ambulance while Paul was left lying in her own urine.

A review ordered by Justice Minister Ross Landry found that police did not properly monitor Paul's health while she was in custody.

The review said the 44-year-old woman wasn't medically assessed or taken to hospital until 10 hours after she was put in jail.

The Halifax police also launched a review.

Landry said his department was involved in the decision to refer the matter for further review.

The Nova Scotia Native Women's Association says it's pleased with Landry's move because the review had no mandate to look into criminal wrongdoing.

Cheryl Maloney, president of the association, said charges of failure to provide the necessities of live or of criminal negligence are appropriate.

"I think it's a very serious possibility there is criminal wrongdoing," she said.

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service said the review should be ready within the next four months.

with files from The Canadian Press