The president of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorney’s Association is calling for tougher security measures inside courtrooms after a brawl broke out yesterday morning in the lobby area of the Dartmouth provincial courthouse.
Rick Woodburn said the brawl came after a North Preston man was given a four-month sentence for weapons offences, including pointing a gun at someone. CBC reported last night the man sentenced was Tyrell Ramone Beals.
Woodman said supporters of the accused and victim were in the courtroom. and shortly after sentencing, several fights broke out.
“It was 20 to 25 people brawling outside the courtroom,” Woodburn said.
Halifax Regional Police say charges are pending from the brawl, with spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter saying “a few people received minor injuries,” but no one was taken to hospital.
Palmeter said police were called after an officer on scene requested additional units.
Provincial Justice Department spokeswoman Sherri Aikenhead said eight sheriffs and one officer tried to break up the fights. She said parts of the courthouse were also put in lockdown.
Aikenhead said the department has launched an investigation, but added a preliminary report shows the “sherrifs responded appropriately” to the situation.
However, Woodburn said the province isn’t doing enough to keep Nova Scotia courthouses safe. He is calling for mandatory weapons-security systems to be put in place at each courthouse, like in Halifax. Metal detectors aren’t a permanent fixture in Dartmouth as sheriffs do a risk assessment each day for their use.
“The fight today shows if had there been weapons, this would have been a totally different situation,” he said.
Aikenhead said increased security measures have been put in place recently and the department is considering whether more are needed.
Halifax RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Taplin said some individuals from the courthouse went to the North Preston area where police were called before noon as people began to gather.
Taplin said nothing happened, but at 1:10 p.m. another group formed and “a fight between two females” took place. The crowd eventually dispersed and there were no arrests.