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Officer hurt trying to stop fleeing offender at Halifax courthouse, police say

A Halifax Regional Police officer was injured and taken to hospital Thursday morning after police say he was assaulted while trying to stop an offender who was trying to flee the Halifax provincial courthouse.

The officer, who had blood on his hands and face, was brought out of the Spring Garden Road courthouse on a stretcher and loaded onto an ambulance just before 11:30 a.m.

The incident happened inside on the stairs leading to the second floor of the courthouse. Police said the officer was attending court on an unrelated matter when a man who had just been sentenced to jail tried to escape.

“The man was quickly taken into custody following a brief struggle with responding officers and sheriffs,” police said in a statement.

The man was arrested for escaping lawful custody, and police said they expect to lay charges.

The injured police officer was transported by ambulance on a stretcher from the courthouse. CBC News has blurred the man’s face. (CBC)

The officer, who has served with Halifax Regional Police for three years, had non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

“It’s certainly never news that we want to hear that one of our officers has been injured,” police spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said in an interview. “Our officers put their life on the line day in and day out.”

Police would not say what parts of the officer’s body were injured.

“That’s really a personal health-care matter with him,” MacLeod said. “So just out of respect for his privacy we’re not providing details on that.”

A large police and first responder presence shut down part of Spring Garden Road, but the street has since reopened.

The Halifax provincial courthouse stairs where the officer was injured while trying to stop a fleeing offender. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Perry Borden, the president of the Nova Scotia Crown Attorneys’ Association, said he was inside a courtroom for a sentencing hearing when the incident happened, but he did not witness it.

“We heard a large kerfuffle happening, it sounded like something had fallen on the stairs and you hear bodies running and voices shouting,” Borden said. 

The courtroom door was then momentarily locked, preventing anyone from leaving.

After Borden left the courtroom to get a document in the Crown’s office, he went downstairs and saw the accused being detained and the injured officer helped by police and deputy sheriffs.

Borden did not know how badly the officer was hurt but said his face and arm were injured.

Borden said the stairs at the busy courthouse, which are used by accused persons not in custody, lawyers and the general public, pose a risk.

“You can imagine if there were young witnesses walking up the stairs and you have an accused rushing down, running down the stairs — it creates its own set of problems,” he said.

The association will be meeting to discuss ongoing concerns they want to be addressed as a result of Thursday’s incident.

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