New Brunswick

Preliminary inquiry for guards in Matthew Hines case adjourned for 3 weeks

Judge Ronald LeBlanc has adjourned a preliminary inquiry for two Dorchester Penitentiary guards charged in the death of inmate Matthew Hines. LeBlanc will hear final arguments from lawyers on Nov. 27.

Judge will determine whether 2 guards go to trial for manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death

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

A provincial court judge has adjourned a preliminary inquiry for two Dorchester Penitentiary guards charged in 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.

Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers for Ross and Bourgoin will present their closing arguments Nov. 27.

After that, it will be up to Judge Ronald LeBlanc to decide whether the case goes to trial.

But he told the court Thursday that he will not be making that decision on Nov. 27.

If the case is sent to trial, Ross and Bourgoin have chosen to be tried by a judge and jury in the Court of Queen's Bench.

Matthew Hines was 33 years old when he died May 27, 2015, in the custody of Dorchester Penitentiary. (CBC)

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

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

Publication ban in place

The ban remains in place until the trial ends, if the case goes to trial, or if Ross and Bourgoin are discharged.

Several members of the Hines family travelled from Cape Breton to listen to the evidence throughout the week.

An internal Correctional Service Canada 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.

Police 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 both charged in January.

Two Crown prosecutors — Claude Haché and Pierre Gionet — are handling the case.

Ross is represented by defence lawyer Michel DesNeiges, and Bourgoin's lawyer is Alison Mé​nard.

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.

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