November 1993: Mr. Walters' Court
In the middle of November 1993, Keith Routley took a four-month leave of absence from his duties as Independent Chairperson. During that period, Matsqui disciplinary court was presided over by Mr. Rory Walters. Mr. Walters was a criminal defence lawyer who had previously presided over several disciplinary hearings conducted in French.
During November and December of 1993, Mr. Walters developed his own rhythm as Independent Chairperson. His pattern of decision-making demonstrated to me that he brought his own judgement to bear on each case. However, the comments I increasingly began to hear from the institutional advisor and other staff suggested they were not similarly impressed with Mr. Walters’ demonstration of independence. In fact, following a series of decisions in which prisoners were acquitted of charges for which staff believed they should have been convicted, Mr. Walters came to be seen by many staff as "pro-prisoner" and out of touch with the realities of a federal penitentiary. By reviewing some of these cases, I hope to illuminate what lies behind these differences in perception.
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