Videos show 'dehumanizing' treatment of teen Ashley Smith

// World | Videos show 'dehumanizing' treatment of teen Ashley Smith
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Videos of teenager Ashley Smith taken in the months before she died in a prison cell show the teen was subjected to “degrading and dehumanizing” treatment, her family’s lawyer told a coroner’s hearing in Toronto Wednesday.

Julian Falconer led the hearing through the video clips shot prior to Oct. 19, 2007, the day the New Brunswick teen died from strangulation after tying ligatures to her neck in her cell at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont.

Corrections Canada had gone to court to try to block the videos from being made public, but lost the case. Falconer is now fighting to have the videos played in front of a coroner's jury.

"To people who think this can't happen in Canada to a mentally ill 19-year-old, you know a picture speaks a thousand words. I'm embarrassed to be Canadian when I look at that video," the lawyer said outside the hearing.

In one of the videos, the 19-year-old is seen on an RCMP plane being transferred from a correctional service psychiatric facility in Saskatchewan to one in Quebec.

Smith is wearing two mesh hoods to stop her from spitting.

The RCMP co-pilot can be seen duct-taping her hands together and then to her seat. He then threatens to duct-tape Smith’s face if she does not behave.

“This is how the [correctional service] does business in transferring a victim,” Falconer said.

A video played at the coroner's hearing shows Ashley Smith being duct-taped to a seat on an RCMP plane while being transferred from Saskatchewan to Quebec.A video played at the coroner's hearing shows Ashley Smith being duct-taped to a seat on an RCMP plane while being transferred from Saskatchewan to Quebec.

Another video shows Smith tied to a gurney at Joliette Prison in Quebec after she tried to cut herself in her cell. She is surrounded by corrections officers in full riot gear, including shields.

One of the officers places a shield on Smith's torso while a nurse injects her with a tranquillizer, described by Falconer as a “chemical restraint.” She received five more injections over the next nine hours, the hearing was told.

Another video taken on July 26, 2007, shows half a dozen guards in riot gear entering Smith’s cell at 5:32 a.m. and telling her she had to have two injections in preparation for a transfer to another facility. Smith objects mildly but, surrounded by the guards, she presents her arm for the shots.

Falconer said a correctional service inquiry board had determined Smith agreed to the shots of her “own free will and without force being used.” Falconer pointed out that a psychiatrist had only recommended drugs be administered to Smith if required and said the “abuse” of the rules contributed to her death.

Smith was first incarcerated at the age of 15 for throwing crab apples at a postal worker.

She racked up six years worth of additional time behind bars for infractions while in youth custody — so many that she eventually ended up serving time in the federal adult prison system.

During the year she spent in federal custody, Smith was transferred 17 times between nine institutions in five provinces.

The correctional service is arguing that presiding coroner Dr. John Carlisle has no jurisdiction to investigate how Smith was treated in prisons in other provinces and that the videos should not be shown to the jury.

The agency is fighting to narrow the scope of the inquest into Smith’s death, claiming the coroner has no jurisdiction to delve into the federal prison system.

Falconer called the position absurd.

“Don’t let them get away with it,” he told Carlisle.

“If you mistreat someone often enough, surely that will affect how they behave.”

Focus of inquest questioned

Carlisle wants a broadly focused inquest that looks, among other things, into how the teenager was treated after repeated episodes of self-harm.

Lawyers for the correctional service and three Ontario doctors involved in Smith’s treatment argued Carlisle's approach oversteps his legal and constitutional authority.

"This has become an investigation into how [Corrections Canada] treated Ms. Smith, and not an investigation into her death," correctional service lawyer Nancy Noble said.

Carlisle wants to turn the inquest "into full-blown inquiry into operations and management of [Corrections Canada]," she said.

The agency wants the inquest limited to Smith's time at Grand Valley Institution, said Lori Pothier, a spokeswoman for Corrections Canada.

The hearing was adjourned until Nov. 13.

The coroner’s inquest is set to officially start with a jury in January.

With files from The Canadian Press
Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Thugs Beat Nigerian Pastor To Stupor For Preaching ‘Too Much’ In South Africa

A Nigerian pastor, Zander Emenogo, 48, has been preaching the word of God on the streets of South Africa for 10 years. But he never ... Full story

List Of Africa’s 30 Highest Paid Presidents And Their Salaries

When President Muhammadu Buhari recently announced that he and his deputy would take a pay cut, it was not entirely surprising for a man known ... Full story

Diezani Allison-Madueke Critically Ill In London Hospital

Some family members of the immediate past minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke have appealed to Nigerians, especially her critics to let her be. Mrs ... Full story

Nigerian Army Brings Boko Haram To Its Knees In Dikwa-Maiduguri

The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, recently ordered the Nigerian soldiers to take the war to Boko Haram terrorists in their ... Full story

Dead Woman Withdraws Money From Her Bank Account Four Years After Her Death

4 years after her death, she 'visited' her bank and withdrew more than N527,500 from her savings account in a first generation bank.  Mrs Cordelia Iweg­buna ... Full story

Uhuru Kenyatta Wisely Shut Down Obama On Gay Issue (Video)

Kenya is an anti-gay country. Below is what President Obama said when asked during a press conference this afternoon in Nairobi what he thinks about ... Full story

Two Nigerians Arrested In Spain For Scaring Women Into prostitution

Spanish police arrested a man and woman of Nigerian origin following accusations that they forced women into prostitution and intimidated them into compliance using voodoo. The ... Full story

Bobbi Kristina Brown Will Be Buried Next To Her Late Mum Whitney Houston

Bobbi Kristina Brown will be buried next to her beloved mother Whitney Houston. Her body will be flown to New Jersey following a funeral service in ... Full story

Baby Of Pregnant Woman Assaulted By Nigeian Police, Dies In Incubator

Take me to my son, I want to see him”, Chika Elekawachi pleaded with family members who were still lost in thought on how to ... Full story

Onyeka Onwenu’s Aide Remanded Over N17 Million Bribe

One of Nigeria’s foremost celebrities, Onyeka Onwenu, has been accused of demanding and collecting kickbacks through her personal assistant, Chika Abazu, from a contractor employed ... Full story

Whitney Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown tragically passes away aged 22

The Houston family released a statement to media on Sunday afternoon. "She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank ... Full story

Comment on: Videos show 'dehumanizing' treatment of teen Ashley Smith

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Sergio Romero Signs For Manchester United

New Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero has said he came to Old Trafford to help his old boss Louis van Gaal win silverware. The Red Devils ... Full story

Stephen Keshi Demands $5m Compensation From NFF

Former Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi has demanded US$5m (£3.2m) compensation from the Nigeria Football Federation following his dismissal from the job. Keshi was sacked at the ... Full story

Gospel Artistes Don't Charge Churches - Esther Igbekele

With the various debates coming from some quarters that gospel artistes should not demand for money from churches after performing, some will be left laughing ...

World Bank Appoints Arunma Oteh As VP And Treasurer

World Bank has announced the appointment of Ms. Arunma Oteh as the vice president and treasurer of the World Bank. According to a report by Global ... Full story

If Your Wife Can't Help You To Focus, Then Something Is Wrong - Sunny Nneji

Singer, Sunny Nneji, is not a new name in the industry after his hit song; ‘Oruka’ gained the attention of many Nigerians thereby creating high ...

I Hope To Work With The Younger Artistes - Paul Play Dairo

Popular Nigerian singer, Paul Play Dairo, who is known for bringing out great RnB hits in the late 90s and early 2000, is back to ...

Mavins Boss Don Jazzy, Awards Does Not Justifies An Artist

Wave making producer, Don Jazzy, has called on artistes and other professionals not to depend on awards before they put in their best in whatever ...

My First Money In Music Was Not Up To Half A Million - Tope Alabi

Some Nigerian entertainers now form the habit of pretending to be living large when actually they have just limited resources to pull themselves through but ...

Kcee Tours China, Eats Strange Food (Photos)

Nigerian singer, Kcee, is currently on a musical tour in China as the singer is schedule to perform various hit tracks of his songs beginning ...

Pregnant and Nursing Mothers Cannot Apply for NYSC...DG Brig-Gen. Johnson Olawumi

The Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps, Brig-Gen. Johnson Olawumi, has announced that prospective corps members that are pregnant and nursing babies have been ...