A Nova Scotia judge has rejected a medical examiner’s finding that Howard Hyde, a mentally ill Nova Scotia man, died in 2007 because of excited delirium or Tasering by police. Anne Derrick, the provincial judge who led the 11-month inquiry into Hyde’s death, said in her report Wednesday that it was a struggle with jail guards and the restraint technique they used that may have restricted Hyde’s ability to breathe and caused his death. So Hyde’s death was accidental, the inquiry said. “The only useful approach is to understand that Mr. Hyde died because of physiological changes in his body brought on by an intense struggle involving restraint,” Derrick wrote. “He did not die because he was mentally ill.” A medical examiner had previously concluded that excited delirium, a condition characterized by increased strength, paranoia and suddenly violent behaviour marked by profuse sweating and an elevated heart rate, caused Hyde’s death. The case attracted national attention when Hyde died in jail in 2007 because he had been jolted with a Taser stun gun up to five times by Halifax police some 30 hours before he died.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.