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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Resident of Nova Scotia care home arrested for alleged assault of four staff

HALIFAX - Police say a resident at a Halifax facility for people with development disabilities was arrested Tuesday for allegedly assaulting four staff members.

Cpl. Greg Church of the RCMP says the 38-year-old resident was released and is expected to face assault charges when he appears in provincial court.

He said nobody was hospitalized or injured in the incident.

The man was returned to his room at the 16-bed Community Transition Program, a facility operated by Capital Health and the Quest Society in Halifax.

Church says the man will remain at the facility — where nine other residents are currently housed — until his court date on Sept. 24.

The program is managed by Capital Health and the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre.

Capital Health oversees the program's nurses and other clinical staff while the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre, based one floor below, shares staff who provide day-to-day programs and care for residents.

The Quest facility on the first floor has had a death that prompted a review of its practices.

In May, a 56-year resident of the Quest facility died after falling during a scuffle with a 28-year-old resident.

No charges were laid in that case after the RCMP concluded the death was partly due to the man's pre-existing medical conditions.

In another incident, Nichele Benn, a former Quest resident who has moved upstairs to the transition program, has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge for allegedly biting and striking a staff member at Quest.

Benn's lawyer has argued outside court that her client has a brain disorder and her case doesn't belong in the legal system.

Brenda Hardiman, Benn's mother, and three other mothers of adults at the two facilities have formed an advocacy group that has argued the facilities are too quick to involve police.

Dorothy Edem, the project lead for Capital Health in the program, said at times, residents have aggressive outbursts and when staff aren't able to handle the situation they call police.

"Each person has a crisis plan. Our staff are trained to deal with situations that involve aggression. When we have exhausted all particular options in handling a particular situation, that's when we would call the police," she said.

"Police would come to assist to ensure the safety of the client and other people in the facility."

She said it's rare for staff and police to decide to press charges.

Edem declined to comment on why staff laid a complaint on Tuesday or to provide details of what happened.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A Previous version said a review was prompted by two incidents.

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