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Two Halifax police officers charged with negligence for death of man in custody

Charges laid after SiRT investigation into death of Corey Rogers

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caption Tuesday, HRP special constables Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner were charged with criminal negligence causing death. They were represented by their lawyers in provincial court in Halifax.
Nicholas Frew
caption HRP special constables Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner were represented by their lawyers in Halifax provincial court Tuesday.
Nicholas Frew

Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner, Halifax Regional Police special constables, were charged Tuesday with criminal negligence causing death in the case of Corey Rogers.

The charges come after the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) — which investigates serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia — finished looking into the death of Rogers. On June 16, 2016, at 1:53 a.m., Rogers was pronounced dead while he was being held in a cell at HRP headquarters in Halifax. Fraser and Gardner were the booking officers on duty.

“When you omit to do something that’s your legal duty to do, you could be charged with criminal negligence that results in bodily harm or death,” John Scott, SiRT interim director, said in an interview.

“In (Rogers’) case, the legal duty imposed on the booking officers, to care for his safety and well being, didn’t meet the standard it was supposed to meet.”

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According to a SiRT news release, shortly after 10:30 p.m. on June 15, 2016, police responded to a call from the IWK Health Centre about an “unwanted male.” Police found Rogers outside the hospital and arrested him for public intoxication. Rogers was then taken to HRP headquarters and put into a cell at 11 p.m.

HRP opened its own Police Act investigation after Rogers died. However, it was suspended until the conclusion of SiRT’s investigation. It will stay suspended until the court process is finished, though it remains open.

Neither Fraser nor Gardner appeared in Halifax provincial court on Tuesday, but they were represented by their respective lawyers. A Crown attorney from Manitoba will be handling the case for the Crown, to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

The case is adjourned until Jan. 22 when the special constables will enter their pleas.

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