New Brunswick

2 guards plead not guilty in death of prisoner Matthew Hines

Two correctional officers charged in connection with the 2015 death of Matthew Hines at Dorchester Penitentiary are pleading not guilty to charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death.

Matthew Hines died on May 27, 2015, after being beaten and repeatedly pepper sprayed by prison guards

Two of Matthew Hines's sisters leave court. Through their lawyer Julie Kirkpatrick, they declined to comment. 'It's too hard today,' she said. (Michel Nogue/Radio Canada)

Two correctional officers charged with manslaughter in the death of prisoner Matthew Hines pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

Alvida Ross, 48, and Mathieu Bourgoin, 32, were not in Moncton provincial court, but pleas were entered on their behalf by their lawyers.

Ross and Bourgoin were working at Dorchester Prison on May 27, 2015, when the Cape Breton man was beaten and repeatedly pepper-sprayed by correctional officers.

Bourgoin is represented by Alison Menard, and Michel DesNeiges is Ross's defence lawyer. 

Menard said the accused would elect to be tried by judge and jury in the Court of Queen's Bench. Five days were set aside for a preliminary inquiry that is scheduled to begin Oct. 29.

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

Two of Matthew Hines's sisters, Wendy Gillis and Helen MacLeod, were in court Wednesday and left the room in tears.

Sisters in court

Outside court, Julie Kirkpatrick, the family's lawyer, said the women would not comment, explaining, "it's too hard today."

Alison Menard represents accused prison guard Mathieu Bourgoin. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Members of Hines's family have travelled from Sydney, N.S., for each court appearance and have said they will continue to do so.

New Brunswick RCMP initially investigated Hines's death and decided no foul play occurred.

Nova Scotia RCMP began reviewing the investigation after "additional information came forward" in May 2016. It's not clear what kind of information changed the RCMP's mind or why it wasn't uncovered in the first investigation.

Correctional Service of Canada assigned Bourgoin and Ross to other duties at the end of February.

With files from Karissa Donkin and Hadeel Ibrahim