This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
The Ashley Smith inquest heard on Monday that the correctional officer, who was fired after the teenaged inmate choked herself to death, is now being allowed to formally resign as the criminal charges against him are being dropped due to non-disclosure of key documents.
The inquiry witnessed the prosecutors take back all the charges laid against Blaine Phibbs, including criminal negligence causing death, since the Correctional Service Canada was unable to provide required documents. Phibbs had been fired since the day Smith was found dead in her cell of a prison at Kitchener, Ont., in October 2007. Now the Corrections are also compelled to pay him for the time, and a half or double time, for innumerable hours he was restrained to work for in the past 18 months. Additionally, he is being paid extra $25,000 for returning to school and attending career counseling. The inquest was informed that Phibbs is compelled never to tell anyone about the events incurred during the incident.
Phibbs mentioned during a cross-examination with the lawyer representing front-line prison staff, Howard Rubel, that guards were never involved in the management plans of 19-years-old Smith. He testified that he had at least stopped Smith from committing suicide with ligatures for almost 50 times during her 12-week stay at the prison, out of which she even turned blue for a minimum of 25 times. He confirmed that he was ordered never to go into Smith’s cell except when she stops breathing as, they were told, it will encourage her self-harming behavior.