Thursday, May 19, 2011
Canadian Coroners Suppressing Voices?
Those familiar with the case of Ashley Smith will find the following article baffling. Law, in general, isn't as straight cut as we expect it.
In this instance we have an inquest of a young girl who died in the early hours of Oct. 19, 2007, in her cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.
Smith was found with a ligature around her neck, one of many attempts she had made during her incarceration in various mental institutions.
Ashley Smith was just 15 years of age when a 30 day sentence was handed down to her. Her crime? She threw a crab apple at a postman.
The 30 day sentence spread to 4 years as Smith was transferred on 17 separate occasions by Corrections Canada. The transfers spanned four of the five regions of the Correctional Service of Canada.
Her inquest, which should give her a voice, has been marred by controversy.
The Correctional Service of Canada are seeking to deny the public and press access to exhibits which amounts to a complete publication ban.
What do they want to hide? Well, maybe the video that surfaced on youtube, a video that shows staff outside the cell of Ashley Smith during her final hours? Not so, the video has been shown to the 5 person jury.
The video, first broadcast on The Fitfh Estate, shows how seven guards stood outside Smith's cell and, as the narrator puts it, "Ashley had choked herself to death while seven guards stood outside her cell and did nothing to save her."
Here we have a girl, who at the age of 15, was thrown into the system, drugged up to the eyeballs and handed down further sentences for not being the "model prisoner." Her 30 days turned in to a living nightmare.
Presiding coroner at the inquest, Bonnie Porter, has approached the five member jury in this case and told them, “anyone approaching counsel” for copies of exhibits “may be cited for contempt.”
This is not how things are run in a world of democracy, surely?
The inquest should take all the facts and if the Coroners Court wish to adhere to their own statement, "We speak for the dead to protect the living", then they should allow the jury access to all the facts.
It would appear that the presiding coroner wants to speak for the dead to protect the Correctional Service of Canada.
Smith was not the model inmate, she kicked up a stink, so much so that she had over 500 violations against her, each time her sentence was increased. With drugs, restraints and tazer guns used against her, it's hardly surprising that this teenager fought back the only way she knew how., wouldn't you?
Smith's miserable time at the hands of this system should be brought to the front. A young girl thrown into various cells and various states of drug induced hysteria is one thing. To have her voice suppressed in a coroners court is an atrocious act!
Full story in the Globe.
Here's the video. Here's Ashley Smith's voice.
Monday, November 15, 2010 THE ASHLEY SMITH REPORT
Thursday, March 31, 2011 "We Speak For The Dead...To Protect The Living" - Unless Drugs Are Involved.
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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