A man hit in the knee with an axe while serving time at Nanaimo Correctional Centre 15 years ago lost his civil suit against the province.
Anton Foulds, 36, was injured May 14, 1997, while working on the farm gang at the Biggs Road facility.
The fact Foulds spent many years in prison was given as the reason for the delay in the action coming forward for trial.
His lawsuit, heard in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo last month, argued that the province owed him a duty of care and breached that duty by failing to supervise him and another inmate working with him that day.
Judge Kenneth Affleck dismissed the action June 26.
On the day of the accident, Foulds was assigned to work with another inmate, Michael Cameron, to clear brush and stack wood in an area on the farm.
During trial, Foulds testified that he and another inmate decided it would “be cool” to work with axes that day and that on their way to the work site, they decided to chop down a tree – not a task assigned to them – at which time Foulds was struck on his left knee with an axe.
The judge was unable to determine which of the men caused the injury or how it was caused. Foulds testified that Cameron was using the axe, but that he did not know how he was struck, stating “we were talking and I woke up on the ground”.
In his reasons for judgment, Affleck determined the men were not left without any oversight or simply given tools without instruction and that there is no basis to conclude the system of supervision at the farm on May 14, 1997 failed to meet the appropriate standard of care.
“The standard of care imposed on the Province in managing the NRCC farm inmates cannot be one of continuous supervision of every inmate at all times,” wrote Affleck.
“In my opinion, the absence of direct supervision of [Foulds] and Cameron was not the cause of the injury. The injury was caused or at least occasioned by the decision of the plaintiff and Cameron to use the axe to chop a tree, a task to which they had not been assigned.”
Foulds was the subject of a recent public warning from the Abbotsford Police Department when he was expected to move to that city after being released from an out-of-province prison in April. Police told the Abbotsford News in April that Foulds has more than 25 convictions, including sexual assault and multiple robberies.