Grievance underway for former prison guard

Balkar Singh Basra was fired from his job at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford after he was convicted of sexual assault.

Balkar Basra is shown in Abbotsford on Wednesday during a break in his Public Service Labour Relations Board hearing.

Balkar Basra is shown in Abbotsford on Wednesday during a break in his Public Service Labour Relations Board hearing.

A former warden at Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford said he had “significant trust issues” with a correctional officer who was suspended – and later fired – after it was revealed he had been charged with sexual assault.

Glen Brown was questioned Wednesday during a Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB) hearing in Abbotsford for Balkar Singh Basra, 34, who has filed a grievance over his June 2009 job termination.

Basra is being represented by James Baugh, a lawyer with the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.

Basra was initially looking to be returned to his job, but is instead seeking other options, such as compensation for lost wages.

Basra had been a prison guard at Matsqui Institution for seven years when he was charged with sexual assault in 2006 following an investigation that began two years earlier.

He was suspended indefinitely without pay at the time.

Brown, the warden at the time, said during Wednesday’s hearing that he had “trust issues” with Basra after being informed of the criminal charges.

“… Mr. Basra (was) the person identified through the court process … as a person alleged to have committed a sexual assault and who (had) not been forthright with his employer in bringing forth those concerns.”

Basra was convicted of the assault and was sentenced to two years less a day in prison. He began serving the term in January 2010 after his appeal was denied.

Court documents indicate that the assault occurred in 2004, after Basra met up with a 21-year-old woman he had met on the Internet.

The two went to a nightclub, and the woman testified that she awoke the next morning naked in Basra’s bed with no memory of how she got there.

She went to the hospital and a medical exam showed she was covered in bruises, including a bite mark, and there was other evidence that she had been raped by Basra.

The judge concluded that Basra had given her a date-rape drug and then sexually assaulted her.

An adjudicator with the PSLRB ruled in 2007 – before the trial – that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) erred in suspending Basra without pay, in part because they had failed to contact him to obtain his side of the story.

He was awarded back pay and full benefits for the period of his suspension, and then  returned to work in the admissions and discharge area.

The Federal Court quashed the decision and Basra was again suspended  in 2008. He was convicted of the sexual assault in July of that year, and terminated from his job the following June.

The hearing in Abbotsford is slated to run until Friday.