Case Against Shackled Woman Fills Binder

The case against a Halifax woman charged in a jailhouse incident that resulted in her being shackled naked to a bed fills a five-centimeter thick binder.

Chastity Tamara Beals, 22, was arraigned yesterday in Bedford Provincial Court on four charges stemming from the August 19th incident at the Halifax Correctional Centre.

But defence lawyer Josh Arnold said he needs more time to study the evidence-filled binder, which he received after entering the courtroom yesterday.

“There’s a substantial amount of it and I understand some of it has been edited,” he told Judge Patrick Curran.  Crown attorney Chris Morris – who said he received the information from police Tuesday afternoon – told court he deleted the home addresses and telephone numbers of correctional centre employees interviewed by police. He also said he removed a handwritten statement from another person because its contents could mean “their safety may be in peril.”

Also yesterday, two of the assault charges were withdrawn and replaced with charges of assault causing bodily harm.

Beals is now charged with assault causing bodily harm against jail guards Geri Lynn Holland, who suffered a fractured arm, and Barbara Ellen Leavis.  She is also charged with assaulting guard John Hatt and damaging correctional centre property.

The Gottingen Street woman – who is no longer in custody – will return to court October 9th for plea.

The incident allegedly occurred while Beals was in lockdown after a drug find at the jail.  Guards watching her on a video monitor said they entered her cell because they feared she would commit suicide.

Meanwhile, a Justice Department spokeswoman said an internal report on the incident – during which videotaping equipment malfunctioned – won’t be made public.

“The review was passed on to the Bedford Crown prosecution service for their comments and they responded that if it was made public it could harm the trial,” Michele McKinnon said yesterday.

McKinnon, reading from a September 24th letter signed by regional Crown Attorney James Gumpert, said the prosecution service “reviewed the report and conclude that the defence’s ability to conduct trial before a fair and impartial trier of fact would be greatly hampered if this report was to be made public.”

Morris said the same people were interviewed in the internal investigation and by police.

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