New Brunswick

Judge to decide in April whether prison guards will stand trial for manslaughter

Two Dorchester Penitentiary guards will have to wait until April 5 to find out whether they'll go to trial on criminal charges related to the death of inmate Matthew Hines.

Alvida Ross, Mathieu Bourgoin also charged with criminal negligence causing death of inmate Matthew Hines

Alvida Ross, left, and Mathieu Bourgoin, right, both pleaded not guilty in April to charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Two Dorchester Penitentiary guards will have to wait until April 5 to find out whether they'll go to trial on criminal charges related to the death of inmate Matthew Hines.

Alvida Ross, 49, and Mathieu Bourgoin, 32, have pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.

Hines, a 33-year-old man from Cape Breton, was serving a prison sentence for robbery at the time of his death on May 27, 2015.

Provincial court Judge Ronald LeBlanc heard evidence during a four-day preliminary inquiry held in October and November.

On Thursday, Crown prosecutor Pierre Gionet and defence lawyers Alison Mé​nard and Michel DesNeiges delivered their closing arguments.

Now, the judge must determine whether there is enough evidence to send the matter to trial.

All of the evidence presented at the preliminary inquiry is protected by a publication ban.

The ban will last until the end of the trial, if the matter goes to trial, or until Ross and Bourgoin are discharged.

Charges laid in January

Matthew Hines died in custody of the Dorchester Penitentiary on May 27, 2015. (CBC)

An internal Correctional Service Canada (CSC) investigation has previously found that correctional officers used "inappropriate" force on Hines by beating and repeatedly pepper spraying him after he refused to return to his cell at Dorchester Penitentiary.

Less than two hours after the encounter with guards began, Hines was pronounced dead at the Moncton Hospital, the CSC investigation found.

New Brunswick RCMP initially ruled out foul play in Hines's death but later reopened the investigation and transferred it out of province to Nova Scotia RCMP.

Ross and Bourgoin were charged in January.

Both correctional officers have been assigned to "non-custodial duties," which means they're not involved in the "care and/or custody of offenders," CSC has said.

About the Author

Karissa Donkin is a journalist in CBC's Atlantic investigative unit. Do you have a story you want us to investigate? Send your tips to NBInvestigates@CBC.ca.

now