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location: publications / books / Justice Behind the Walls / Sector 3 / Chapter 3 The Disciplinary Process at Kent / August and September 1994: The Hanlon, Belluz and Binford Cases -- Involuntary Transfers, Administrative Segregation and Punitive Segregation: A Case of Cumulative Punishment

Officer Wallin, when asked for the institutionís recommendation, said that normally he would ask for 30 days segregation, but it would be appropriate for Mr. Fox to take into account that Mr. Belluz had been transferred to Kent (at this point Mr. Fox interjected, "He wanted to come here") and that he had already spent quite some time in segregation. Mr. Fox asked Officer Wallin whether he had a specific recommendation or was prepared to leave it to him. Officer Wallin said he would leave it to Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox then imposed a sentence of 30 days segregation.

Mr. Foxís verdict of guilty was fully justified. Officer Lakerís evidence was quite clear that it was Mr. Belluz that made the comments that she had written down. She was able to satisfactorily address Mr. Belluzís question on how she could distinguish his voice above that of the other men shouting, with reference to her familiarity with his raised voice in other confrontational situations. Mr. Hanlonís evidence that he did not hear Mr. Belluz makes those comments did not really contradict Officer Lakerís evidence, because quite clearly Mr. Hanlon was very upset and there was a lot of banging and shouting going on. Unlike Mr. Fox, I did not get the impression that his evidence was concocted, particularly in his description of what led up to the incident and what he viewed as the arbitrary behaviour by some staff in relation to the food slot and their inflexibility in relation to when prisoners could shower. Nor did I view the interaction between Mr. Belluz and Mr. Hanlon as demonstrating a false bill of goods. In my experience, that kind of behaviour, which I would loosely characterize as a machismo show of solidarity, often characterizes disciplinary court. Mr. Belluz more than likely felt that Mr. Hanlon was doing a good job and his so-called smirking was in fact his attempt to show appreciation. For whatever reason, it seemed that Mr. Fox at a very early point came to the view that Mr. Hanlon was lying, and this was reflected in his very uncharacteristic cross-examination of him, where he literally put words into his mouth to implicate him in the disturbance.

While the verdict was the right one on the evidence, the sentence took no account of the time spent by Mr. Belluz in segregation awaiting the hearing. Even Officer Wallin said that this should be taken into account. Mr. Foxís sentence ignored the requirement in the CCR Regulations that the punishment should take into account any administrative measures which have been taken as a result of the offence, which in this case, included both the transfer and continued segregation.

Following Mr. Belluzís case, Mr. Hanlon had his hearing on two charges, both of which alleged that he participated in a disturbance. The first charge alleged that he was screaming, threatening and banging his door and the second charge alleged that he blocked up his toilet which caused flooding on the range. Mr. Hanlon, both before Officer Lakerís evidence and after it, said that his main concern was that on the incident reports he had been given accompanying the charge, there were allegations that he had threatened the staff. He protested that this was not the case and he did not want it to be on his record. After hearing from Officer Laker, Mr. Fox said that as he understood the officerís evidence, she was not saying that Mr. Hanlon had threatened her personally but that the whole disturbance, including Mr. Hanlonís participation in it, was a threatening situation to the staff. In the course of Mr. Hanlon giving his explanation of what happened, Mr. Fox asked him to explain what he was doing during the disturbance and specifically asked him whether he was shouting, banging his door and whether he did flood his toilet. Mr. Hanlon admitted that he had done these things. Mr. Fox found Mr. Hanlon guilty of the charges.

When asked if he had anything to say about sentence, Mr. Hanlon pointed out that last week he had received a sentence of 45 days in segregation on the two brew charges. In light of the waiting period to leave segregation, even when he finished that sentence, it would be some time before he got out into the population and he was likely looking at November. He was due to be released on statutory release in January 1995. Officer Wallin recommended that a fine would be in order, together with restitution for the damage caused to the mattresses that were used to stem the flood. However, at this point he did not have the figures from Matsqui as to the amount of the damage. Mr. Hanlon said that he had been in segregation since July, had no money in his current account and did not earn any money while serving his 45 days. He therefore was not in a position to pay either a fine or restitution. Mr. Fox asked Officer Wallin how much Mr. Hanlon would be earning when he finishes his punitive segregation. Officer Wallin responded that while he remained on administrative segregation he would be earning $1.60 a day which amounts to $11 every two weeks, after deductions. Mr. Fox said that in light of this there was a problem about Mr. Hanlonís ability to pay. He therefore imposed a suspended sentence of 30 days, suspended for 90.

The principal comment I would make regarding this case, is that it is one which Mr. Fox should not have heard. In the Belluz case, Mr. Hanlon had been a witness and during the course of his evidence he had in some detail explained what had led up to the disturbance and his role in it. Mr. Fox had rejected his evidence as not being credible. However, Mr. Hanlon had not been present in the room when Mr. Fox gave his reasons for decision in the Belluz case, where he made the statement as to why he was rejecting Mr. Hanlonís evidence. It was clear, therefore, that when Mr. Fox proceeded to deal with Mr. Hanlonís case on charges of the same nature, Mr. Hanlon was starting under a virtual presumption of guilt and under the darkest cloud of his evidence being rejected, of which he was unaware. Mr. Hanlonís hearing, which involved nothing more than a repetition of Officer Lakerís evidence and on Mr. Hanlonís part a much condensed version of his own evidence, had a predictable outcome that was never in doubt. The case should have been dealt with by another Independent Chairperson.

The second comment I would make relates to the penalty imposed upon Mr. Hanlon. Mr. Hanlon originally faced four charges. Had all four charges been dealt with together, the maximum sentence that could have been lawfully imposed upon him would have been 45 days segregation. Because the charges were split, he received a sentence of 45 days, plus a suspended sentence of 30 days. Mr. Hanlon himself, after receiving the suspended sentence, commented that in light of the difficulties he was having in his relationship with the guards, he might as well stay in segregation, implying that he would probably be charged again and have to serve the suspended sentence. Indeed, Mr. Hanlon did pick up another charge, after he had finished serving his 45 day sentence, but while he was still in segregation awaiting to be assigned a cell in the population. The charge was that of fighting with another prisoner and although he only received a fine of $15, this conviction had the result of activating his 30 day suspended sentence. No credit was given to him for the seven days he had spent in segregation after the expiry of his 45 day sentence while he was awaiting placement in the population. The net result of all this was that Mr. Hanlon served a total of 82 days in segregation arising from the sentences imposed by Mr. Fox.

The last case to be dealt with arising from the Matsqui disturbance involved Mr. Binford. He faced two charges. The first was taking an intoxicant and the second was refusing an order. The first charge was the one that resulted in Mr. Binfordís being placed in segregation at Matsqui. The charging officer, Mr. Albion, gave evidence that during a routine cell search he entered a cell in which Mr. Binford and Mr. Abdul were present, together with a third prisoner, and during the course of the search found a box in which there was a brew. The officer said that the prisoners acknowledged that it was a brew and that upon examination it smelled like a brew. As a result the prisoners were taken to segregation. Because the charge was not possession of contraband, but taking an intoxicant, Mr. Fox questioned Mr. Albion as to what evidence there was of impairment. The officer said that he noticed no evidence of impairment in any of the prisoners. As a result Mr. Fox dismissed the charge against Mr. Binford for lack of evidence that he had taken an intoxicant. This clearly was a case in which the wrong charge had been laid.

On the second charge, Officer Tyler testified that he received instructions to proceed to the Matsqui Segregation Unit because there was a disturbance in progress. On arriving there, he was told to remove Binford and Abdul from the cell in which they were double bunked and to isolate them in separate cells. He said that when the cell door was opened, he ordered Mr. Binford to leave the cell and repeated this order on at least six occasions, but Mr. Binford did not comply. Mr. Fox asked Mr. Tyler what exactly he said. Mr. Tyler replied, "Exit the cell." Mr. Fox asked him whether Mr. Binford said anything in response. Mr. Tyler answered that Mr. Binford just said, "Why?," and Mr. Tyler told him that all he had to know was that he was being told to leave the cell. Mr. Tyler went on to say that when the cell door was first opened Mr. Binford was standing between the double bunks and the table and Mr. Abdul was sitting on the lower bunk. Mr. Binford moved to the back of the cell. When it was clear that the prisoners were not going to leave voluntarily, Mr. Tyler grabbed Mr. Abdul, who was closest to the door, and placed him in restraints and took him down the range to another cell. By the time Mr. Tyler came back, there were a number of officers in Mr. Binfordís cell and he was down on the floor.

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