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During cross-examination, Crown counsel asked MacDonald to name the prisoner who had supplied him with the knife on February 22. Mr. MacDonald declined to answer, saying it would place this prisoner in jeopardy. The judge then instructed the jury that they could take the accused's refusal to answer to account in assessing his credibility. On redirect examination by Mr. Conroy, Mr. MacDonald was asked what the consequences would be if he named the prisoner. He said he would be labelled an informer and run the risk of being stabbed or beaten by other prisoners.

Hughie MacDonald's evidence was followed by that of another prisoner, Marty Hornell, whose criminal record consisted of numerous counts of bad cheques, false pretences, and several robberies. Mr. Hornell explained that he had been a junkie for twenty years, and all of these offences had been committed to support his habit. He had known Gary Allen back in the late 1970s when they were both scoring heroin on Granville Street in Vancouver. During that time Mr. Allen was known as a "muscle head," meaning that he was very intimidating and used his strength to get drugs from other guys. Mr. Hornell said he himself had been robbed by Mr. Allen and that on another occasion he observed Mr. Allen beat a person up to get dope from him. He did not see Mr. Allen for another fifteen years, until he met him in Kent. Mr. Hornell was in segregation at Kent early in 1994 following an involuntary transfer from Mission Institution. He was the food server, and therefore had the free run of the J segregation unit. He testified that Mr. Allen was constantly badmouthing Hughie MacDonald and that he used Mr. Hornell to pass papers of heroin to other prisoners as part of what Mr. Hornell understood to be Mr. Allen's "building an army" who would support him when he was released into the population. As Mr. Hornell explained, "If you supply prisoners with heroin then you have a lot of influence. It's like bees to a flower." He testified that Mr. Allen bribed other prisoners who had numbers lower than his -- and therefore would normally be released to population before him -- by giving them heroin in return for refusing to leave segregation when their number came up. In this way Mr. Allen was able to accelerate his own release.

Meva Gill was the next witness. Mr. Gill was serving three life sentences, two of which were imposed in 1978 for the murder of his uncle and aunt and the third in 1983 for the murder of another prisoner at Kent Institution. Mr. Gill had been described by a Federal Court judge, in a case in which Mr. Gill challenged his transfer to the Special Handling Unit (SHU), as one of the "barbarian princes" of the Canadian prison system. Although not a tall man, Mr. Gill had the physique of a well-disciplined weightlifter. His evidence was that he had met Gary Allen in Kent in 1991-92 and had met Hughie MacDonald earlier, when they were both in the Special Handling Unit. Mr. Gill's relationship with Mr. Allen had begun when they were working out together in the gym. Subsequently, Mr. Gill had asked Mr. Allen for some favours, in the form of enforcement services for the collection of drug debts. Mr. Gill testified that he had had a conversation with Gary Allen shortly after Mr. Allen returned to Kent from the Special Handling Unit in 1991. Mr. Allen asked Mr. Gill for news about guys in the SHU, and when he mentioned Hughie MacDonald's name, Mr. Allen got visibly upset. On another occasion, when Mr. Gill asked him what the problem was with Hughie MacDonald, Mr. Allen's response was "He's dead." Mr. Gill said Mr. Allen had told him that he had it in for Mr. MacDonald "because of what he and his friends did to me in Edmonton." Mr. Gill eventually withdrew from his association with Gary Allen because, as he put it, Mr. Allen "was a heat score," and Mr. Gill was trying to lower his own profile and move to lower security.

Meva Gill described Gary Allen as a big man, strong and intimidating. When asked to describe Hughie MacDonald, he laughed and immediately apologized to the court for doing so: "I'm sorry, I was laughing because he reminds me of Santa Claus." I noticed that several jury members smiled at this. At the beginning of the trial, I'm sure they could not have imagined Hughie MacDonald, with his convictions for manslaughter and double first-degree murder, as Santa Claus. Having since compared the demeanour and the physical appearance of this fifty-two-year-old, 185-pound man, bulging more at the waist than the biceps, with the photograph of Gary Allen, 6'2"and 275 pounds, stripped to the waist, with his 58-inch chest and massive biceps, and now with the imposing physique of Meva Gill, the association was not so far-fetched.

The third prisoner witness was Jimmy Whitmore. Mr. Whitmore was serving a life sentence for murder. He too had the narrow waist and the upper body contours of a weightlifter, and as he crossed the courtroom to the witness box, his musculature and attitude were highlighted by the distinctive swagger developed in maximum and some medium security prisons. The prisoners testifying at this trial were in leg irons, which had the effect of accentuating the prison walk. Mr. Whitmore was also wearing large black sunglasses, which increased the intimidation factor by several notches. The intensity of his physical presence was further charged by his very soft speaking voice, which required the judge on several occasions to ask him to speak louder.

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