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August and September 1994: The Hanlon, Belluz and Binford Cases -- Involuntary Transfers, Administrative Segregation and Punitive Segregation: A Case of Cumulative Punishment

On August 17, one day after the brew party at Kent involving Mr. Tyson, Mr. DaSilva and Mr. Preddy, there was a more restrained brew party in the segregation unit at Matsqui Institution. The following day, another prisoner was caught with a brew in one of the living units and was placed in segregation. A few days later the three prisoners involved in these incidents, Mr. Hanlon, Mr. Belluz and Mr. Binford, were involved in a disturbance in the segregation unit, that resulted in their being charged with disciplinary offences and their emergency transfer to Kent Institution. The charges against the three men were also transferred to Kent and became the subject of a series of hearings before the Kent disciplinary court in September, 1994.

Mr. Hanlon’s was the first case to be heard on September 6, 1994. He faced four charges, three of which originated from Matsqui Institution and a fourth which arose at Kent. The first charge arose on August 17 and was one of contraband in the form of two gallons of a brew-like substance, which was found in a cell occupied by Mr. Hanlon and Mr. Belluz. Mr. Hanlon pleaded guilty. The second and third charges arose on August 23 and both involved creating or participating in a disturbance. The offence report in relation to the first of these two charges was that "Mr. Hanlon at approximately 1045 hours until 1430 hours shouted obscenities and threats towards the staff working in segregation. He proceeded to smash his cell door, utilizing his hands and feet. His behaviour was disruptive and inciting." Mr. Hanlon said that he never made any threats to anyone and pleaded not guilty. The other charge on the 23rd alleged that Mr. Hanlon "intentionally obstructed cell 17’s toilet with toilet paper. The clog created a flood of water that spewed into approximately 15 cells and resulted in damage to mattresses, cell furniture and an electrical issue." Mr. Hanlon pleaded not guilty to this charge.

The fourth charge arose at Kent Institution in J unit after Mr. Hanlon was transferred from Matsqui. It was a charge of contraband and the allegation was that one and a half gallons of fruit and liquid mixture in a garbage bag was found in his cell, which was also occupied by Mr. Doherty. Mr. Hanlon pleaded guilty to this charge. He went on to say that in relation to both the first and fourth charges which involved contraband brew, he accepted responsibility and Mr. Doherty and Mr. Belluz, who were his cell mates at the time, were not responsible. In regard to Mr. Doherty, Mr. Hanlon stated that he had made the brew and Mr. Doherty had not partaken of it. He said that Mr. Doherty could not be held responsible for what he did because "he (Mr. Doherty) is a con and he’s not going to tell me what I can and can’t do in my cell."

The two charges to which Mr. Hanlon pleaded not guilty were set for hearing the following week. However, Mr. Fox proceeded to sentence Mr. Hanlon for the two charges to which he had pleaded guilty. Officer Wallin recommended a sentence of 15 days segregation on the first charge of contraband and 30 days segregation consecutive on the second charge, making a total of 45 days. Mr. Hanlon said that he had been in segregation in Matsqui since the time of the first charge right up until his transfer, was placed in segregation upon his arrival at Kent and was still in segregation. Mr. Fox sentenced Mr. Hanlon to the 45 days recommended, with no credit for any of the 20 days already spent by Mr. Hanlon in segregation.

Mr. Belluz’s case was called next. He faced two charges arising from Matsqui. One on August 17 for contraband brew, the same charge as Mr. Hanlon, and a second charge of creating or participating in a disturbance, the same disturbance Mr. Hanlon was alleged to be involved in. Mr. Belluz’s offence report read that he "commenced at approximately 1045 hours until 1430 hours to shout obscenities and threats towards staff working in SCU. He pounded and kicked his cell door. Comments included ‘we’re gonna have fun today’, ‘fucking pigs’, ‘crush their head’ and ‘eat their fucking brains’, etc. His behaviour was disruptive and inciting." Mr. Belluz pleaded not guilty and the hearing was set for the following week along with Mr. Hanlon.

The last prisoner seen was Mr. Binford, who was also transferred to Kent. He faced two charges. The first arose on August 18 and was that of taking an intoxicant. He pleaded not guilty, saying that while he did not deny that he had a brew, he got caught before he could take any. The second charge arose on August 23 and was one of refusing a justifiable order. He pleaded not guilty to that as well. This hearing was also set for the following week. He was asked whether he had any witnesses to call and he said that he would like to call another prisoner, Mr. Wanek, who was in the same cell at the time when he was charged with taking an intoxicant. Mr. Fox informed the institutional advisor, Officer Wallin, that Mr. Wanek should be brought over from Matsqui. After Mr. Binford left the room, Officer Wallin said that he would talk to the authorities at Matsqui to see if they wanted to withdraw this charge to avoid the expense of bringing Mr. Wanek over. It seemed to Officer Wallin that they might have charged Mr. Binford with the wrong offence.

The Belluz, Hanlon and Binford cases come on for hearing the following week. The trilogy began with Mr. Belluz. Officer Laker from Matsqui testified that this incident started when Mr. Binford started shouting and being abusive in his cell "as a result of the choices he had made regarding his shower and exercise." Mr. Binford had been asked in the morning whether he wanted to have his shower and he had declined, preferring instead to go to the exercise yard to be with some of his friends. After coming back from the exercise yard he asked for his shower and was told that it was not possible to give him a shower now. He had become very upset and both he and his cell mate, Mr. Abdul, became very disruptive. Mr. Belluz and his cell mate, Mr. Hanlon, who were on the opposite side of the range, joined in and over several hours kept up a stream of abusive and threatening behaviour. The situation deteriorated and the heat sensors, first in Mr. Binford and Mr. Abdul’s cell and then in Mr. Belluz and Mr. Hanlon’s cell were broken, setting off the alarm.

In order to resolve the problem the decision was made to separate the four prisoners from each other and a cell extraction team was brought up for this purpose. Mr. Binford and Mr. Abdul refused to come out of their cell, so the team went in. Mr. Abdul was taken out of the cell, restraints were put on him and he was then placed in a single cell. Mr. Binford still refused to come out, so the officers extracted him and placed him in the observation cell. He proceeded to take toilet paper to block the camera in that cell which is monitored from the officers’ control room. Mr. Belluz and Mr. Hanlon were then removed from their cell without resistance and placed in single cells. Mr. Hanlon was placed in the cell in which Mr. Binford and Mr. Abdul had been housed, but only after it had been completely stripped of all furnishings. After Mr. Hanlon was placed in the cell, he stuffed the toilet with toilet paper and repeatedly flushed, with the result that the water flowed out of the cell onto the range, eventually flooding the range and leaking downstairs into the Reception Centre. Because the prisoners still kept up their shouting and banging, the decision was made to transfer them to Kent. Officer Laker said that it took her and her fellow staff members over two hours to mop up the mess left by the flooding, to clean out the cells and replace the bedding for all the other inmates in the unit whose bedding had been soaked by the water.

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