Ashley Smith Inquest Learns of Alleged Assault Case by Prison Staff

The Ashley Smith Inquiry has recently heard about another assault that allegedly took place on March 24, 2007, during the time the teenager stayed at the Saskatoon’s Regional Psychiatric Centre for almost four months, i.e. approximately seven months before she passed away at an Ontario federal facility.

The incident unfolds on a spring day, when Ashley was routinely “tying up” homemade ligatures around her neck, from whatever she could find. During her overall stay in the federal system, each ligature incident resulted in an analogous series of events, i.e. staff entered her cell to lay off the ligature, which would often require a little physical force, sometime becoming more than just a little physical force, eventually sometime setting in motion various reports within the Correctional Service of Canada bureaucracy. The recently reported incident is also of such “use of force,” connected to a correctional supervisor, named John Tarala, who allegedly grabbed her hair and called her what the lawyer for Ashley’s family, Meaghan Daniel, carefully portrayed as “the F word-C word” combo.

Unexpectedly, Ashley later made an official complaint regarding the incident, which was aided by a nurse who later also reported the her account of the story regardless of the alleged pressure by Tarala to falsify her report. The hospital’s senior management soon got into action after receiving the report, and an investigation was launched. The hospital’s executive director at the time, Peter Guenther, testified at the Ontario coroner’s inquest on Wednesday. He alleged that “this was very serious,” and “the most serious incident we’d had since her arrival.”

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