Lawyer: Ed Horne should enjoy basic human rights
Writ of habeas corpus filed as preliminary hearing into 72 charges of sexual assault begins.
IQALUIT — Edward Horne’s lawyer, James Bryden, says the jail conditions in which his client is living for the duration of his preliminary inquiry in Iqaluit are intolerable.
“You try getting some sleep in the RCMP cells in Iqaluit on a Friday night. People throw up in there. People pee themselves in there, and worse,” said Bryden.
Horne, a former teacher in the Baffin who already pleaded guilty in 1987 to molesting 8 children between 1983 and 1985, is back in Iqaluit for a preliminary hearing into 72 other counts of sexual assault that relate to incidents said to have occurred between 1970 and 1985.
Horne has been in jail awaiting trial since March 31, 1999 when he was arrested.
“It’s like locking yourself in your front porch, pulling down the blinds and living there for a year,” Bryden said, describing Horne’s experience in jail.
Horne’s hearing began in Iqaluit this week even as Bryden filed an application to have his client’s living conditions improved. A hearing on the habeas corpus application was slated for Jan. 27.
The application asked that Horne either be released pending his trial or that, among other things, he be allowed safe, non-punitive incarceration with a healthy diet, and regular exercise.
Since being moved from the Yellowknife Correctional Centre for his preliminary hearing in Iqaluit, Horne has been staying in what is commonly known in Iqaluit as the RCMP’s “drunk tank.”
The drunk tank is nothing new to Horne. In his affidavit, he said that when he was first arrested, he was put into the RCMP lock-up and then brought before a JP to have charges read to him.
After that, he was brought to BCC for a few hours, but after other inmates threatened to kill Horne, officials there decided it was too dangerous for him and for the next 24 days Horne was again detained at the RCMP’s cells in Iqaluit.
During that period he subsisted on a diet of Eggo waffles and TV dinners, because the RCMP had no real kitchen facilities in the detachment building.
Horne said in his affidavit that he lost 15 pounds and suffered diarrhea as a result of the poor food.
“They’re not really for long-term stays. There’s no facilities for exercise or visitors,” Iqaluit RCMP Staff Sgt. Jim MacDougall told Nunatsiaq News last spring when Horne first applied for better treatment.
In his statement, Horne said he was taunted with catcalls and shouts of “dead man walking,” “I’m going to kill you” and “motherfucker,” while in custody at the drunk tank.
He also described losing all sense of time, being allowed few visits, being too cold and suffering from “night terrors” and poor sleep.
“He’s considered to be innocent. The time he’s serving is a lot worse than if he were in a federal penitentiary in the South,” said Bryden.
While conditions were better for Horne in Yellowknife, Bryden said Horne has been kept in isolation at YCC.
“I think that’s one of the cruelest things you could do to a human being. Humans are social animals. Nobody wants to be isolated from the rest of humanity,” Bryden said.
However Horne’s contact with other inmates has been less than pleasant.
In his affidavit, Horne alleges that from the start of his stay at YCC, he was physically and verbally abused by some of the other inmates and that the abuse was condoned and perhaps encouraged by some correctional officers.
Bryden said Horne’s current problem is not the fault of the RCMP or anyone in particular, but the result of poor planning.
“There has to be some sort of facility in Nunavut where people can be held in some security if they are going to be held at all,” said Bryden.
He said he tried without success to have the proceedings heard either in Yellowknife, or at the very least with Horne still in Yellowknife and able to participate in the proceedings through a closed-circuit teleconference.
A new information upping the number of charges from 66 to 72 was also filed by the Crown at the opening of the preliminary hearing. New complainants had come forward recently, Crown prosecutor Debra Robinson told the court.
At the opening of the preliminary hearing, Judge Robert Kilpatrick estimated the hearings could last a month. Crown lawyer Debra Robinson said she and fellow prosecutor Richard Meredith expect to call four to five witnesses to testify every day.
A court order prevents publication of any of the evidence presented during the preliminary hearing until Horne is discharged or convicted.
Under the Criminal Code the names of complainants in the case cannot be published.