TORONTO, March 26, 2019 /CNW/ - In an unprecedented decision, the Honourable Justice Perell awarded $20 million in Charter damages to the seriously mentally ill who were subjected to solitary confinement in Federal prisons. The class action was prosecuted by Koskie Minsky LLP in Toronto.
The representative plaintiffs, Christopher Brazeau and David Kift, were placed into administrative segregation multiple times while incarcerated despite being diagnosed with serious mental illnesses. They commenced the claim in 2015.
Justice Perell ruled that Canada breached sections 7 and 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ("Charter") for thousands of mentally ill prisoners. Justice Perell found that any inmates who were involuntarily placed in administrative segregation for more than thirty (30) days, or who were voluntarily placed in administrative segregation for more than sixty (60) days had their section 7 and 12 Charter rights violated and are entitled to damages.
Citing vindication and deterrence as key objectives of this aggregate damages award (the first of its kind), the damages are to be distributed in the form of additional mental health or program resources for structural changes in prisons. Individual claims for compensation will be adjudicated at a later date.
Justice Perell heard the summary judgment motion brought by the Plaintiff and Class over five (5) days in February 2019.
James Sayce, counsel for the Class at Koskie Minsky LLP, stated: "This decision is a major victory for the class members who are among the most vulnerable individuals in Canadian society."
SOURCE Koskie Minsky LLP
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