Tom Zytaruk photo

Tom Zytaruk photo

Surrey Pretrial inmate claims staff left him handcuffed during epileptic seizure

But his complaint will not proceed because it was filed approximately two weeks too late

A Surrey Pretrial inmate claims corrections staff left him in handcuffs during an epileptic seizure and refused to provide him with his medication.

But his complaint will not proceed because it was filed approximately two weeks too late.

Cole Patterson-Coulter filed the complaint on Sept. 26, 2019 with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal alleging “discrimination in services based on physical disability.”

None of Patterson-Coulter’s allegations have been proven at a hearing before the tribunal.

The tribunal heard he had a dislocating shoulder, as a pre-existing condition. Patterson-Coulter also alleged that despite telling corrections staff about this, they used excessive force and dislocated his shoulder at SPSC.

“From the information provided by the SPSC, it appears that Mr. Patterson-Coulter was transferred to hospital following his seizure on September 11, 2018 and returned to the previous correctional facility the next day,” Tribunal member Steven Adamson noted in his March 10 reasons for decision.

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Section 22 of the Human Rights Code says a complaint must be filed within one year of an alleged contravention. But if a tribunal member or panel determines it’s in the public interest to accept the complaint, it can proceed.

“I am not satisfied this complaint includes a novel issue that should be heard by the Tribunal to advance the purposes of the Code,” Adamson concluded.

“This complaint is a common one involving disability in a prison setting, about which the jurisprudence is fairly settled.

“After considering all the factors related to Mr. Patterson-Coulter’s delay in filing, I am not persuaded it is in the public interest to allow his complaint to proceed.”

Patterson-Coulter attributed the delay in filing, in part, to being incarcerated.

“In particular, he reports being denied access to make calls to get assistance, his inability to access legal documents, long delays in receiving mail and lack of access to a computer to type documents, as all contributing to his delay in filing,” Adamson noted.

Patterson-Coulter also said his physical disabilities impeded his ability to file, as it was painful to write.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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