Warden Steve DiCastri recieves the keys to the Okanagan Correctional Centre from CEO of Plenary Concessions Mike Marasco in October 2016. (Western News file photo)

Second lawsuit this week filed against jail

Inmate claims he was stabbed by another inmate while in protective custody

A lawsuit has been filed against the Okanagan Correctional Centre over an alleged stabbing, making it the second this week and the third in about a month.

This lawsuit, filed by inmate David James McHale, alleges he was assaulted on Sept. 9 by another inmate, which he names Gagne Ighani.

“I was sitting in our unit yard with two other inmates. There were two other sectioned groups with the health care unit at the time. I am a PC (protective custody) inmate, with a section 18 designation,” he said. “This means I am to be in a protected situation at all times.”

Related: Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over alleged assault

McHale alleges an officer Shah (inmates do not have access to officers’ first names) came into the yard and suggested the yard be locked up, because he was going to serve other inmates brunch.

“We asked to stay in the yard, locked up. Officer Shah agreed and left to serve brunch,” McHale wrote in his small claims lawsuit.

“Unknown to us, officer Shah forgot to lock the yard door. After a few minutes, the door opened and inmate Ighani burst in. He looked around and focused on me. He came towards me,and proceeded to stab at me with a sharp shank and punch my head.”

Related: Prison an ‘economic boon’ to the South Okanagan

McHale said Ighani cut his hands, arm and shirt before officer Shah returned and told Ighani to return to his cell.

McHale was taken to the medical officer, where his wounds were addressed, and he was asked if he would like to make a police statement.

He was reportedly given an RCMP file for what he called an “aggravated assault,” which has since caused him duress.

Related: 4 B.C. jails install body scanners to combat drug smuggling

“This aggravated assault has caused me tremendous anxiety and stress. I have nightmares and don’t sleep very well now,” he said.

“This is a serious corrections breach. My safety was jeopardized.”

McHale is seeking $25,156 in damages from the jail.

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, the same day another lawsuit was filed against the jail over an alleged assault on an inmate by a corrections officer, but details were only made available on Friday.

Related: Trial for 2014 robbery still not on

In the other lawsuit, a man accused in a 2014 robbery claimed a corrections officer grabbed him by the throat and threw him down, after he asked for a corrections supervisor.

He claimed he was put in segregation for some time before he was returned to his cell with no explanation for the incident.

Yet another lawsuit was filed on Oct. 31 against the jail, after an inmate reportedly ran over his heel with a meal cart. He claimed he was not given proper medical attention.

Each of those lawsuits are calling for $35,000 in damages, with all three adding up to over $95,000.

Related: Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over cart crash



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