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February 5 -- The Assault of Curtis Caziere

On Friday, February 5, at around 9:30 p.m., Curtis Caziere, a prisoner at William Head, was viciously attacked in Upper G Tier by a group of prisoners armed with knives and a steel bar. He suffered extensive injuries, including a deep gash to his head and multiple stab wounds to his arms and hands; a sharpened piece of metal was left embedded in his back. Gary Weaver was one of the prisoners segregated after the attack, based upon the institution's belief that he was involved. On April 7, I filed on Mr. Weaver's behalf a petition for habeas corpus in B.C. Supreme Court that was set down for trial on May 3 and 4. On April 28, Warden Gallagher released Mr. Weaver from segregation on the advice of the Department of Justice, thus avoiding a full hearing of the merits and legality of his segregation. The following account of events is drawn from the documents filed in the habeas corpus petition of Gary Weaver v. The Warden of William Head Institution (B.C. Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry cc990462.

After the attack on February 5, Mr. Caziere -- bleeding profusely and with the knife still embedded in his back -- made his way to the end of Upper G Tier corridor, down two flights of stairs, and into the C-unit Community Building, a distance of some 200 yards. There he sought assistance from Officer Draibye. Ms. Draibye phoned for the back-up of other officers. Her observation report stated that Mr. Caziere had arrived in her office at approximately 21:40 (9:40 p.m.). Officers Whitten and Higgins, the first officers to arrive on the scene, stated respectively in their reports that they had heard the call for assistance at approximately 21:40 and approximately 21:45 and responded immediately. An observation report by Officer Shular, who was on duty at the front gate, stated that Officer Draibye's call for help came over the radio at 21:37 and that at 21:38 the front gate was contacted to phone 911. Her report went on to record the imposition of a lock-down at 21:49 and the arrival of an ambulance at 21:54. Because Officer Shular was not preoccupied with the immediate task of assisting the badly injured prisoner, her report provides the most accurate time frame for the events.

For reasons that will become apparent, the time frames in this case are of great significance. According to Officer Shular, Mr. Caziere had arrived in the C-unit Community Building at 21:37 (9:37 p.m.). Given the serious nature of his injuries and the distance between the site of the assault and C-unit, it would have taken him no less than five minutes to get to C-Unit. It could well have taken him much longer, particularly if he had rested, fallen down or passed out on the way. This suggested that the attack on Mr. Caziere was completed no later, and possibly earlier, than 9:32 p.m.

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