Former Correctional Service Canada guard Blaine Phibbs says he personally cut at least 50 ligatures from Ashley Smith’s neck during her 12-week stay at the Grand Valley Institution for Women and saw her turn blue at least 25 times. (via ts)
- A correctional officer fired after a teenaged inmate choked herself to death was allowed to resign when criminal charges were dropped over the non-disclosure of key documents, an inquest was told Monday.
- The Ashley Smith inquest heard prosecutors withdrew charges of criminal negligence causing death against Blaine Phibbs because Correctional Service Canada failed to turn over documents.
- Phibbs, who had been fired after Smith died in her cell in Kitchener, Ont., in October 2007, was then allowed to resign.
- Corrections paid him time and a half or double time for the thousands of hours he had been off work in the 18 months after the tragedy. He also received $25,000 to go back to school and career counselling.
- In exchange, the inquest heard, he was never to tell anyone what had happened.
- The evidence came as Blaine faced cross-examination by Howard Rubel, the lawyer representing front-line prison staff, the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers.
orders came down that guards were not to go into Smith’s cell unless she had stopped breathing because it would only encourage the self-harming behaviour, Phibbs testified. “We were told that we were upping the ante,” Phibbs testified. In essence, guards had to determine if Smith was in distress and not breathing properly by peering through a knee-level slot in the segregation cell door. Even some managers didn’t like the no-entry directive, he said.