Judge accepts convict’s claim that shiv in prison cell isn’t his

Prison shivThrough my late teens and early 20s – in late 70s and 80s – heavy-duty plastic milk crates had one notable use, as containers/carriers for long-play, 33 rpm records. Albums fit perfectly into the rugged, square containers that were designed to transport jugs and plastic bags of milk and other products from dairies to retailers and restaurants. It turns out the crates have an entirely unexpected use inside a federal penitentiary, as the raw material for fabrication of a sturdy and lethal prison shank. I dug out of my personal archive a photo I snapped of one of these marvels of convict engineering (inset, in full after jump), after seeing a recent decision of a Federal Court judge who tossed out the internal prison conviction of an Ontario inmate after a five-inch long Fibreglas knife was found inside the convict’s cell.

A correctional officer at Collins Bay Institution found the Fibreglas shank in the cell of convict Harmanpal Sidhu. Sidhu claimed it wasn’t his weapon but he was convicted by an internal tribunal of a prison offence. He appealed and recently, a federal court judge tossed out the conviction. Judge George R. Locke concluded that:

Also, a finding of not guilty should be entered because the ICP [Independent Chairperson of the Collins Bay Institution Disciplinary Tribunal] accepted facts sufficient to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether the applicant had legal possession of the weapon in question. Here, I refer specifically to (i) the finding that there was no evidence that the window sill where the weapon was hidden had been searched since the applicant had moved into the cell; and (ii) the finding that there was a risk that someone could place the weapon in the cell without the applicant’s knowledge. Therefore, based on the evidence accepted by the ICP, it is reasonably possible that the weapon had been left in the cell without the applicant’s knowledge either by a prior occupant, or by someone who entered the cell, either with or without permission, when it was unlocked and the applicant was not present.

Sidhu was awarded $2,000 in costs.

This photo (click image for larger version) shows a shiv recovered by staff at Frontenac Institution, a minimum-security prison in Kingston, Ontario:

Milk-crate prison shiv
A knife (a shiv or shank in prison slang) fashioned from a melted and sharpened chunk of milk crate at minimum-security Frontenac Institution in Kingston, Ontario (photo by Rob Tripp)
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1 thought on “Judge accepts convict’s claim that shiv in prison cell isn’t his

  1. I know of Rene Bourdon. He’s very devious. In each of his offences he used his car. After he was convicted and finished his time Low and Behold they gave him back his car so that he could use it in another criminal offence. He should be locked up and not get out because he still doesn’t get it. Don’t Commit Criminal Offences. I also Met Eric who you wrote up. Unknown to you is that he did get help and has completely changed. He does not commit any more offences and is very sorry for what he did. Also the 810 order was appealed and he won it. That is because there was no basis for it. Also unknown to you is that the crimes he was convicted of most of them the person ran away. Because of fusion done in July 1982 due to a motorcycle accident Eric has not been able to run. He was 21 when the accident happened and even stepping off a curb which everyone takes for granted could and has fractured his toes.

    He is always haunted by the fact he was convicted of a lot of the crimes for which someone ran away and he presented the evidence but the evidence was not allowed as the Doctor who did the surgery could not be located as he was either long retired or dead. Also he had a psychiatrist that was going to testify on his behalf but his written testimony was not allowed because he died of a massive heart attack. So he got massively shafted. And the homeowner led the police on the search of his home. Things were found in his bedroom which he conveniently pinned on Eric. If the search happened anywhere else the homeowner would have been excluded from helping the police search his own home. Also evidence which was on 12 mini cassette tapes which would have hurt both the crown and the police were erased by the police. You have to wonder what was the evidence on those tapes that the police circumvented the law and destroyed them and who were they protecting? They were protecting the homeowner and their witness because with the tapes entered into evidence their witness would have been destroyed and their case against Eric would have been very flimsy and he might not have been convicted. If the destruction on purpose of evidence had happened anywhere else the police would have been charged.

    Everyone deserves a fair trial and when someone destroys evidence to change the outcome of a trial it brings in to disrepute the justice system.

    As for Rene Bourdon he is the most dangerous individual I have ever met and he should not be allowed out till he stops committing rapes of both women and children.

    Every fact I have said can be checked and if you check the facts you will find truth in everything that was said.

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