Nfld. & Labrador

Another conviction in broomstick assault at HMP

An inmate who used a broomstick to attack another prisoner at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's did not act in self defence, according to a Supreme Court judgement released Monday. Justice Valerie Marshall convicted Wayne Murray of assault with a weapon, but says he's not guilty of aggravated assault.
David Wayne Murray is convicted of assault with a weapon after attacking another prisoner with a broomstick handle. He was found not guilty of aggravated assault. (CBC)

An inmate who used a broomstick to attack another prisoner at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's did not act in self defence, according to a Supreme Court judgement released Monday.

Justice Valerie Marshall convicted David Wayne Murray of assault with a weapon in the attack of inmate Todd Barry on June 15, 2014. However, she found him not guilty of aggravated assault.

The decision comes days after the sentencing of another prisoner, James Glasco, who took part in the attack by kicking and punching Barry.

In making her decision, Judge Marshall looked at surveillance tape from the prison. It shows Murray drinking from a cup, then throwing the contents at Barry and following it up with a punch.

Two other inmates are seen joining the fight. The video then showed Murray with a broken broomstick which he used to jab Barry, while the man was on his knees trying to protect his face and head. 

The fight ended when corrections officers arrived.

Judge says provocation not a defence

Barry reluctantly gave a statement to police where he said he and Murray had argued over the use of a phone and things escalated from there. 

He said he threatened Murray in the minutes leading up to the fight, saying he would break his legs and 'poke him full of holes.'  Barry said he had a shank in his cell, but didn't take it into the common area because of the surveillance cameras.  

Barry, who is six feet tall and weighs nearly 300 pounds, said he has been disciplined several times for dozens of fights while in prison.

Judge Marshall said while she accepts that Barry provoked the attack, using a broom handle was "an extreme and unnecessary application of force." 

While finding him guilty of assault with a weapon, she said the injuries were not serious enough to warrant a conviction of aggravated assault.

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