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Prisoner sues over gang-related assault at Matsqui Institution

An inmate has filed a notice of civil claim against staff at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford and the attorney general of Canada.  - Vikki Hopes
An inmate has filed a notice of civil claim against staff at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford and the attorney general of Canada.
— image credit: Vikki Hopes

A man beaten in prison by gang rivals has filed a civil lawsuit against the warden of Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford and others, claiming they failed to properly protect him.

Christopher Henry Iser, 29, claims the defendants should have known that "members or associates of the Red Scorpions … would likely be a danger" to him.

The civil claim, filed Jan. 15 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, states that Iser was "severely assaulted and battered by other inmates" on Aug. 14, 2012 in the recreation yard at Matsqui Institution.

He had been transferred there the day before from CSC's (Correctional Service Canada) regional reception and assessment centre, also in Abbotsford.

Iser was sentenced in April 2012 to seven and a half years in prison on two separate sets of firearms-related offences.

He and a co-accused had been arrested in October 2010 in Vancouver by members of the Gang Task Force as they arrived at a pre-arranged meeting, which was observed by police who were watching the group.

Media reports indicated that he was associated with the Dhak group, rivals of the Red Scorpions.

Iser's notice of civil claim states there had been a pattern of gang-related assaults occurring in provincial pre-trial centres and federal institutions prior to his assault.

He alleges there has been other assaults in Matsqui Institution in the same area where he had been attacked, and it was known not to be monitored by video cameras or other surveillance.

Iser claims that the defendants failed "to take reasonable care" to ensure he would be safe from harm, failed to ensure that other inmates did not have access to weapons, and failed to respond to complaints about inadequate audio and camera surveillance.

He also claims that staff did not provide prompt and efficient medical care or treatment after the attack.

Iser's injuries included traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, seizures, and impairment of speech and vision, according to the court documents.

He was later transferred to a different institution.

He is seeking general, aggravated, exemplary and special damages.

Named as defendants in the civil claim are the warden and assistant warden of Matsqui Institution, eight CSC employees, and the attorney general of Canada.

They have not yet filed a response to the claim nor have the allegations been proved in court.

 

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