Movies exhibiting guards on the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre punching an inmate had been performed in Fredericton provincial court docket this week following an unsuccessful try by the province to forestall the general public from seeing them.
The movies present Scott Morrison being tackled to the bottom by two guards, adopted by extra guards swarming him and punching him whereas he was being held within the jail on Sept. 27.
Morrison was on remand pending the end result of his trial on eight drug trafficking offences.
In October, Choose Cameron Gunn discovered him responsible of the offences, and Morrison filed an utility searching for to have his sentence diminished based mostly on his constitution rights being violated with the jailhouse beating.
Morrison sought to have the movies performed in court docket to again up his utility, however the Workplace of the Lawyer Basic filed its personal utility on Nov. 3 asking that the movies be sealed and that members of the general public and media be blocked from viewing them.
The province argued in its utility and thru affidavits that enjoying the movies in court docket might violate the privateness rights of different inmates who could possibly be seen within the movies, and will compromise safety on the jail by exhibiting the tactical response to an emergency.
After listening to arguments from a lawyer representing the Workplace of the Lawyer Basic, and a lawyer representing CBC Information, Gunn denied the federal government’s utility on Tuesday, citing the significance of the open court docket precept.
“The power for folks to observe the movies, which Mr. Morrison alleges present the assault by correctional officers, might help them in understanding my resolution, no matter it is perhaps,” Gunn mentioned.
“Such an understanding can solely assist to boost the fame of the administration of justice. To cover the video from the general public viewing might serve to decrease the general public’s belief within the system of justice.”
Footage exhibits punches
Following Gunn’s resolution to disclaim the province’s utility, court docket resumed with Sheldon Currie, the province’s chief superintendent of correctional providers, being referred to as to testify on what was proven within the movies as they had been performed.
The movies comprised CCTV footage exhibiting varied angles throughout the jail, in addition to footage from a digital camera that was being held by one of many guards, Currie mentioned.
Within the CCTV footage, two guards may be seen strolling Morrison down a flight of stairs and right down to the door of his cell.
One of many guards is seen swinging the door open, which Morrison then slams shut.
The door swings open once more and as Morrison walks inside, a guard may be seen pushing him in.
Morrison walks again out and approaches the 2 guards, and a scuffle ensues, with one guard holding Morrison across the shoulders, and the second guard grabbing him by the legs and taking him to the bottom.
One of many guards can then be seen punching Morrison whereas he is on the bottom.
Different guards from one other a part of the jail may be seen assembling after which working to the world the place Morrison was.
Not one of the CCTV footage contained audio.
Court docket was then proven the footage from the hand-held digital camera, which Currie mentioned guards are required to make use of every time a tactical emergency response is triggered.
That footage contains audio and exhibits as many as six guards crouched over Morrison.
From the angle of that recording, Morrison is not seen to start with, however somebody may be heard shout “You are resisting,” and two guards may be seen punching a number of occasions in Morrison’s course.
Morrison solely comes into direct view of the digital camera as soon as the guards transfer away and decide him up off the bottom.
The knuckles on the appropriate hand of one of many guards seen punching Morrison seem to be bloody.
Morrison’s face has crimson marks as he is walked in handcuffs throughout what seems to be a typical space, down a hallway and into to a room, the place he’s sat down and the door closed.
Currie mentioned the incident was reviewed by the jail’s use of power knowledgeable and later reviewed by the jail’s skilled requirements unit.
Currie didn’t say whether or not there have been any findings of wrongdoing by the guards, or whether or not any of them had been punished.
Morrison was additionally in court docket and took to the witness field to testify about what occurred.
He mentioned the incident all stemmed from an interplay he had with a nurse throughout the jail.
He mentioned he requested her for bandages, however she gave him the unsuitable ones, so he put them again in her cart and requested her to get a special sort of bandage for him.
He mentioned the guards thought he was being disrespectful to her, which is once they ordered him to depart the nurse’s station and return to his cell.
Morrison mentioned as he received to the door of his cell, one of many guards shoved him in, and he got here again out as a result of he was upset and wished to talk to a supervisor.
He mentioned he then received tackled to the bottom and was struck 3 times by one of many guards, earlier than extra guards rushed to the scene.
“One of many guards was attempting to hamstring me or one thing,” Morrison mentioned.
“He received the again of my leg and it actually harm, however he was concentrating there and I am holding my pants up. One guard punched me within the face, and I keep in mind simply extra guards coming in after that.”
All through his time on the bottom, Morrison mentioned, his arms had been behind his again and he was being compliant with the guards.
“I did not combat them earlier, and I wasn’t combating them then.”
Morrison mentioned the incident left him with a black eye and scrapes and marks on his face and neck.
He mentioned he requested a jail guard to take photographs of his face, which had been proven in court docket. The photographs confirmed crimson marks and bruises on his face and neck.
He mentioned because of the incident, he now will get complications extra typically and it takes him longer to learn books. He mentioned his leg can also be nonetheless injured from when the guards tackled him.
Defence argues for 29-month sentence
As a part of the sentencing submissions, the court docket heard Morrison reaffirm earlier responsible pleas on separate costs for possession of cocaine for the aim of trafficking, two counts of possession of stolen property, and a rely of fleeing from police, which stemmed from an incident in Fredericton on Aug. 7, 2021.
Each the Crown and Ben Reentovich, Morrison’s lawyer, beneficial a 90-day sentence for these costs.
Mixed with the eight drug trafficking offences, Reentovich mentioned, he believed Morrison deserved a 29-month sentence, which included a six-month discount as reduction for the beating he suffered.
“There is not any have to repeatedly strike him within the face, to seize him by the throat. You noticed the marks in these photographs,” Reentovich mentioned.
“That response to an inmate not being co-operative to me appears disproportionate and unreasonable, and is one which requires a treatment.”
Crown prosecutor Brian Munn mentioned he beneficial Morrison be sentenced to a few to 5 years in jail.
Gunn mentioned he would reserve his resolution till Nov. 28.