A Kelowna-based gangster serving a six year sentence for various drug and weapons offences was recently denied his request to be housed in a minimum security prison.
Donald Lyons, whom the courts describe as a high-ranking member of the Independent Soldiers, had been at the minimum security Ferndale Institution until January but “imminent threats” prompted a safety warning from the Mounties and a subsequent prison upgrade.
At the time, his case management team admitted being detained in a minimum security institution would give Lyons the best odds for reintegration upon release, but “public safety remains the mandate of the Correctional Service of Canada.”
“A transfer to a medium security institution is the only available option to provide the degree and kind of custody and control necessary to respond to the risk that Mr. Lyons currently presents,” reads a report from the prison.
With that directive Lyons was transferred to the Mission Institution, but not without some resistance.
The inmate raised concerns about the validity of the decision, noting he “did not have any enemies inside or outside the prison, and he did not have any outstanding debts.”
The warden reviewed the transfer upon Lyons’ urging, however she too decided Lyons’ gang involvement couldn’t be underestimated, especially considering the string of gang related violent outbursts around B.C. in recent months.
Disatisfied with that decision, Lyons took the case to court, applying for an order to be returned to a minimum security prison, and for information into the identity of the person who tipped police off to the so-called threat
Ultimately questions about the validity of the transfer didn’t work in Lyons’ favour, as a Supreme Court Justice found the warden’s decision to be reasonable at the end of March.
In fact, Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler said they were “were intelligible, transparent, and justifiable in light of the information set out in the Assessment for Decision.”
Lyons will continue serving a six-year aggregate sentence for various offences relating to drug trafficking and possession of prohibited or restricted weapons in a medium security prison.
Those offences arose from his involvement as a high-ranking and trusted member of the “Independent Soldiers”, a criminal organization based in the Kelowna area