Crown won’t lay charges from in-custody injury case

Man's wife, BCCLA and Union of BC Indian Chiefs want government to explain lack of charges

  • Nov. 4, 2012 10:00 a.m.

THE WIFE of a man who suffered a brain injury while in police custody here wants an explanation as to why the officers involved weren’t charged.

Heather Prisk, along with the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs held a press conference Nov. 2 to pressure the government for accountability on what happened at the Terrace RCMP detachment after her husband, Robert Wright, was arrested and detained April 21 of this year.

On Nov. 2, civil liberties association lawyer David Eby confirmed that he had heard from the criminal justice branch why charges weren’t approved.

“[They] indicated they relied heavily on video and audio [evidence],” he said, adding the BCCLA will be pressuring the branch to release the audio and video to Prisk so she can decide for herself.

On April 22, Terrace RCMP reported that around 6 p.m. April 21, they arrested a 47-year-old man for impaired driving and while in custody, he was injured and taken to hospital here three times during the night before being taken to Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster for medical care. That man was Robert Wright.

Terrace RCMP inspector Dana Hart requested that New Westminster police conduct an independent investigation into the incident.

All in-car and cell block video was secured for that independent investigation, said police. On April 23, New Westminster police said that while in police custody Wright was non-compliant in cells and had to be physically restrained by police officers and subsequently suffered a head injury.

Eby said the criminal justice branch made its decision not to prosecute Oct. 10 but Prisk and her husband weren’t told until after this press conference.

“We were, and we continue to, [ask for] a special prosecutor to be appointed to review the case and information that investigators recommended and crown didn’t approve be released right away,” said Eby.

Wright will never work again and needs full-time care at an adult day care facility or from his wife to do basic tasks, said Eby.

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