Federal Court

Charter of Rights

Alleged cause of action arose from warden’s decision not to let inmate run for office

Inmate took action against Crown and three of its servants in employ of Correctional Service of Canada arising from decision of warden to reject his nomination to run for election for inmate committee, and his subsequent transfer out of institution. Respondents applied to have statement of claim struck in its entirety or to dismiss action against individuals, and to strike out claim for aggravated and punitive damages. Inmate asserted that his rights under Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly freedom of assembly, were violated and that he suffered domestic hardship, shame, dishonour, and embarrassment. Application allowed, in part. Allegations against two of servants were simply that in their positions of authority they appointed decision-makers at second and third grievance level. If there was any cause of action against two individuals at all, it would be constitutional in nature and lay only against state. Alleged cause of action arose from warden’s decision not to let inmate run for office, not from grievance procedure. It was far too early to determine how matter would develop, and at what stage, if any, inmate would have to elect between private law damages and Charter damages. If there was chance that inmate might succeed, then he should not be driven from judgment seat. Statement of claim struck against two individuals, but not against warden.

Spidel v. Canada

(Dec. 12, 2011, F.C., Harrington J., File No. T-1569-11) 98 W.C.B. (2d) 728 (8 pp.).

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