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Report of the Nova Scotia Police Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the death of
James Guy Bailey, Jr.
Background Leading to the Inquiry
James Guy Bailey, Jr., was born on September 24, 1971. He lived most of his life on Atlantic Street in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. His parents, Lillian and Butch Bailey, had four children. James Bailey had two older siblings, Paula and Wayne, and one younger brother, Kevin. Butch Bailey died when James Bailey was 17 years old. Members of James Bailey’s family all reported that his father’s death had a serious negative effect on him and that it continued to upset him throughout the remainder of his life.
After Butch Bailey’s death, Lillian Bailey lived in a common-law relationship with Clayton LaFrance. James Bailey got along well with Clayton LaFrance and considered him to be his step-father. Clayton LaFrance died on April 18, 2000, a month prior to James Bailey’s own death. Members of the family confirm that Clayton LaFrance’s death triggered further feelings of sadness and depression in James Bailey.
Lillian Bailey reported that James Bailey had been a good child growing up and that she had received positive reports from his teachers during his childhood years. He completed grade 10 at Memorial High School in North Sydney and then worked for his uncle, Lawrence Bailey, at his upholstery shop for a few years. His uncle eventually let him go because he had started “taking pills”. For a while James Bailey lived in Calgary with his girlfriend and when they broke up he moved back to live with his mother. He also lived in Ottawa with his sister Paula Bailey on several occasions over a span of two to three years. James Bailey had a history of drug and alcohol abuse. He had been admitted to the Detoxification Centre (Detox Centre) run by Addiction Services located at the Cape Breton Health Care Complex in Sydney (CBHCC) nine times.
Lillian Bailey stated that James Bailey’s problems with alcohol and then drugs started in 1994 after his father died. She herself is a recovering alcoholic and had been in the Alcoholics Anonymous program for approximately six months when she became aware that James Bailey was abusing drugs and alcohol. He attended some Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but his behaviour became progressively worse. Lillian Bailey would not allow alcohol in the house but she was aware that James was high on prescription drugs at times. She agreed that it was very difficult to live with a person with addictions. Although James Bailey was not violent, she remarked that money would disappear and that he would sometimes take drugs prescribed to her or his step-father.
On those occasions she would put James Bailey out of her house and he would live with friends or relatives. Lillian Bailey stated that James often checked himself into the Detox Centre and that he would try to stay sober and off drugs. She estimated that he took drugs on average two weeks a month.
On May 3, 2000, Lillian Bailey had told James Bailey to leave her house permanently because his drug use had become intolerable. Because of a cheque fraud incident involving James Bailey, Lillian Bailey called the police and had a “peace bond” issued against James Bailey so that he would not be able to return to her home. Prior to being served with the peace bond, James Bailey checked himself into the Detox Centre and remained there until May 10, 2000, at which time he signed himself out against the advice of his doctors.
From May 11 to May 15 , 2000 James Bailey sought out prescription drugs from a number of sources. On May 11 he attended the local office of the Provincial Department of Community Services to apply for financial assistance. On May 14 he spoke to his mother and wished her a Happy Mother’s Day. Lillian was aware that James Bailey was feeling depressed. May 16 was his father’s birthday, and he was just getting over the loss of his step-father.
On Monday, May 15, Lillian Bailey brought James Bailey to her brother’s house (Richard MacIntyre) where he was allowed to stay on the couch. Mr. Bailey told his uncle that he had been kicked out of his mother’s house and was planning to go to Ottawa to stay with his sister.
James Bailey walked approximately 200 metres from Thelma MacIntyre’s home to where he was arrested by Constable Max Sehl. Constable Sehl placed James Bailey under arrest.
Constable Sehl removed a prescription bottle with a variety of pills from James Bailey prior to placing him in his police vehicle. He took Mr. Bailey directly to the lock-up at the Grand Lake Road police station in Sydney. Carmel Butler was the jailer on duty that evening. The video tapes from the lock-up show that Mr. Bailey was compliant with Constable Sehl and Ms. Butler. The tapes show Constable Sehl and Ms. Butler carefully placing Mr. Bailey in the recovery position on the cell bunk after removing his jacket and shoes. The video tapes further show that James Bailey moved only slightly a few times up to 23:18:00h once he was placed on the bunk. After that time there was no further spontaneous movement by him.
At 01:58:12h on May 17, 2000, Ms. Butler entered through the outer door of cell #4…She then made a radio call to Sergeant O’Rourke, who was the Duty Sergeant for that shift, and asked him to return to the lock-up… She reached through the cell bars to tug on Mr. Bailey’s legs. She again returned to her desk and called dispatch by radio to advise that there was an unresponsive prisoner. The dispatcher called 911 for an ambulance…
Sergeant O’Rourke and Constable MacDonald entered and left cell #4 within seconds without touching Mr. Bailey. Mr. Bailey was worked on in cell #4 by the paramedics (EHS) until 02:29:28h when they removed him from the lock-up to the Cape Breton Health Care Complex. He was pronounced dead at 02:45h, May 17, 2000.
Dr. Paul Murphy was the Medical Examiner at the time of James Bailey’s death and he authorized the autopsy. A full autopsy was done at the Cape Breton Health Care Centre at 15:30h on May 18, 2000, by Dr. Dan Glasgow, pathologist (36 hours after James Bailey was pronounced dead). A toxicology panel was ordered and the report was submitted on June 14, 2000 by M.D. Holzbecher, M.Sc. The report showed there were several narcotic and controlled pharmaceuticals, along with their metabolites, in Mr. Bailey’s system. Bromazepam and Paroxetine were in the toxic range. There was no alcohol detected in his system at the time of the autopsy.
An examination of James Bailey’s body indicated that there had been no violence or trauma prior to his death. There was no evidence of foul play. The cause of death was determined to be respiratory failure due to drug toxicity (drug overdose). The pathologist further determined that James Bailey’s chronic substance abuse was a contributing factor in his overdose.