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On February 7, 1994, Gary Allen was transferred from Fraser Regional Correctional Centre to Kent Institution and was placed in segregation pending available bed space in the general population. On February 22, Gary Allen was released from segregation. In his memo of January 13, Mr. Dick had predicted that Gary Allen "will be both a potential target and aggressor and I would anticipate a violent incident within days, if not hours, of his arrival in an open unit." In fact, it was only hours from the time Gary Allen left segregation that he was carried, fatally wounded, from the courtyard of Kent Institution.

The events which led to the death of Gary Allen in February 1994 were the subject of much evidence in the four-week trial of Hughie MacDonald on a charge of first-degree murder. While the Crown's evidence focussed almost exclusively on what correctional officers observed during the few minutes of the confrontation in the courtyard, the evidence of the Defence, principally though not exclusively the evidence of prisoners, framed those same events within a broader context, taking the jury deep inside the interior spaces of maximum security and the culture of a prisoner society.

The Crown's theory was that Hughie MacDonald deliberately planned to kill Gary Allen. When Hughie MacDonald learned that Gary Allen was coming out of segregation, he obtained a knife and came into the courtyard where he confronted and attacked him. Gary Allen was unarmed and retreated, but he was pursued by Mr. MacDonald, who repeatedly tried to, and eventually did, stab Mr. Allen.

The Defence's theory was that Hughie MacDonald had been told by other prisoners that Gary Allen intended to kill him as soon as he was released from segregation. On the day of Mr. Allen's release from segregation, the prisoners who had spoken with Gary Allen advised Hughie MacDonald that Gary Allen intended to carry out his threat and that he was armed with a knife. Hughie MacDonald obtained his own knife and went into the courtyard with the intention of talking to Gary Allen. Mr. Allen punched and kicked Mr. MacDonald, and Mr. MacDonald then drew his knife. In the ensuing struggle Hughie MacDonald stabbed Gary Allen, believing that his own life was in danger. In the words of defence counsel, Hughie MacDonald acted in self-defence in a situation where it was "kill or be killed" and his stabbing of Gary Allen was justified homicide.

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