The Okanagan Correctional Centre (top), as seen from atop McIntyre Bluffs one February evening, was named in at least seven lawsuits by inmates since September last year. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Suing Okanagan Correctional? File it against the Queen

Only 3 of 7 lawsuits against OCC get response, due to defendant naming issues

The B.C. government has filed brief responses to a pair of lawsuits filed against the Okanagan Correctional Centre, while apparently ignoring those that fail to name the Queen.

Just three of the seven lawsuits filed over issues at OCC in the past seven months have received responses, one of them only to notify the inmate that the lawsuit was invalid due to the name of the defendant on the small claims form.

Related: Another inmate files lawsuit against Okanagan Correctional Centre

In an April 12 response to Alex Boucher, who filed a lawsuit on March 26, the B.C. government only said it “denies the allegations in the Notice of Claim and puts the Claimant to the strict proof thereof.”

As well, the province responded to Mathew John Van Exan, who filed a lawsuit on March 22, on April 13, again denying the claims.

In both cases, the matters are going to settlement conferences on unspecified dates, according to Court Services Online.

Related: ‘Violated and humiliated’: inmate claims privacy breach at OCC

Meanwhile, one inmate, who spoke for the Okanagan Incorrectional series under the name C.C., went to a settlement conference with Chiron Health Services Inc. on March 28. It is unclear what settlement was reached in the conference.

C.C. sued Chiron Health issues with medications at various correctional centres in B.C., including OCC.

Related: Ailing health care biggest hurdle for Okanagan jail

However, four other lawsuits against the jail have yet to receive any substantive response. Scott Klemola, who filed a lawsuit on Nov. 6 last year naming “Chiron” and “Oliver Correctional Centre,” did receive a letter from a barrister with the Ministry of Attorney General.

The letter noted that delivering documents to jail staff “does not constitute service on Her Majesty the Queen in the right Province of British Columbia.” The response included an 11-page print-out of the Crown Proceeding Act for civil claims against the B.C. government.

Related: Inmate suing Okanagan Correctional over alleged assault

The letter also notes that the Okanagan Correctional Centre is “not a legal entity capable of being sued.”

In the letter, the ministry said it would accept an amended and filed notice of claim with proper naming and properly served, but no response has been filed by Klemola since.

The response to Boucher also took some issue with the naming, stating the defendant “must be named as ‘Her Majesty the Queen in right of the Province of British Columbia’ with no additional wording, pursuant to section 7 of the Crown Proceeding Act.”

Related: Second lawsuit in a week filed against jail

OCC has been named in at least seven lawsuits from inmates since September, and the Okanagan Incorrectional series has outlined some of the issues facing the jail. That includes issues with health care, allegations of excessive force from jail staff, violence among inmates and a high rate of rule infractions at the jail.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has previously declined to comment on the lawsuits facing the jail and how that number compares to other jails in B.C.

Find our index of all Okanagan Incorrectional stories to date below, and look for our final part of the series on Friday.

Report a typo or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Telephone poles placed in centre of sidewalk angers West Kelowna watchdog

Audience Group calls placement of poles in new Boucherie Road upgrade project ‘idiocy’

Kelowna asking public to help update its Cultural Plan

Second survey this year to posted to gather public input about cultural programs and services

Three candidates drop out of Central Okanagan municipal election

Two running for Peachland/OK West trustee and OK East rural director candidate step aside

West Kelowna water warning downgraded

City lowers boil water notice for Lakeview water system to a water quality advisory

Ancestral remains uncovered at Fintry to be reburied

Remains found along Shorts Creek in Fintry Provincial Park during flood remediation measures

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read