Michael Nehass's treatment ‘systematic abuse:’ Yukon NDP
'That is a systematic abuse of a tool that was never meant to be used in this way'
The official opposition in Yukon says it's outraged by the treatment of Michael Nehass.
Nehass has complained to the Yukon Human Rights Commission about his treatment at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre after he appeared in court by video link, naked and held to the floor by three guards in riot gear.
He says he’s been held in solitary confinement for 28 months.
NDP justice critic Lois Moorcroft says the use of solitary confinement is abusive, and demonstrates a lack of compassion for people with mental illness.
“That is not occasional use, which the minister says is the case,” she says. “That is a systematic abuse of a tool that was never meant to be used in this way. That is 837 more days than what the UN Special Rapporteur on torture said was cruel and unusual punishment. That is unacceptable practice.”
Justice Minister Mike Nixon says solitary confinement is used in cases where prisoners are considered dangerous.
Nehass is refusing to participate in any more video conference appearances in court.
Yesterday he appeared fully clothed on camera — just long enough to tell the judge he won't be appearing on camera again.
Nehass is demanding he be brought to court in person in the future.
The judge agreed. A new hearing has been set for next month.
Nehass has been held on remand since December 2011 on charges laid in Watson Lake, Yukon.
He has also racked up new charges including attempting to escape and assaulting a female guard.
Yukon’s legal aid director Nils Clarke says Nehass’s time in segregation isn’t helping.
"I am positive that it would have a negative physical or psychological impact on anybody and certainly in these circumstances.”