Hines fam­ily is­sues re­sponse to re­port

‘We are ex­tremely grate­ful for the thor­ough and de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion’

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton -

The fam­ily of Matthew Hines is­sued a re­sponse Tues­day, through their lawyer, re­gard­ing a re­port by the Of­fice of the Cor­rec­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tor into the death of the 33-year-old while in Dorch­ester Pen­i­ten­tiary. The fol­low­ing is an edited ver­sion of that state­ment.

“When the Hon. Ralph Goodale, min­is­ter of pub­lic safety, made a pub­lic state­ment last year that Cana­di­ans de­served an­swers about Matthew’s death, our lawyer wrote the min­is­ter to let him know we were tak­ing him at his word. The clear apol­ogy to our fam­ily, and most es­pe­cially to our par­ents, that is con­tained in the govern­ment re­sponse to the spe­cial re­port tabled in Par­lia­ment (Tues­day) is ex­tremely im­por­tant to us.

Matthew strug­gled with men­tal health is­sues from the time he was an ado­les­cent. There were few re­sources for youth and young adults with men­tal health is­sues in Cape Bre­ton and Matthew of­ten found him­self in trouble with the law.

In April 2015 Matthew was liv­ing in the com­mu­nity on pa­role and when his men­tal health was ob­vi­ously de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, we were told that he would get the help he needed if he re­turned to Dorch­ester Pen­i­ten­tiary. We be­lieved that to be true. It was not.

Matthew was dis­traught at be­ing sent back to the Dorch­ester Pen­i­ten­tiary and his last words to his sis­ter Wendy were: “Don’t let them kill me.”

We were told that Matthew died of a seizure. We were told that Matthew was a nice man who was “loved” by the cor­rec­tional staff and that they were very sorry for his death.

Over a year later, we found out that Matthew died as a di­rect re­sult of in­ex­pli­ca­ble and un­nec­es­sary phys­i­cal and chem­i­cal force used by the cor­rec­tional staff who were re­spon­si­ble for his care, and that this was cap­tured in graphic de­tail on video.

Why did no one pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing to him?

We are a large fam­ily of hard-work­ing cit­i­zens who be­lieve in this coun­try and its in­sti­tu­tions. We be­lieve this be­cause our par­ents raised us that way. The fact that our par­ents were not told the truth by their govern­ment about the cir­cum­stances that sur­rounded Matthew’s death is, to us, un­for­give­able.

We are ex­tremely grate­ful for the thor­ough and de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by the Of­fice of the Cor­rec­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tor. The com­mit­ment that they have shown in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Matthew’s death has given us hope that no one else will suf­fer as Matthew did.

Mr. (Ivan) Zinger trav­elled with his staff to Sydney to meet with us per­son­ally to ex­plain his find­ings. The com­pas­sion and re­spect shown to us by Mr. Zinger and his staff, in our own home, will not be for­got­ten.

We now await the conclusion of the re­newed RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Matthew’s death, which was re­opened and trans­ferred to Nova Sco­tia in the fall of 2016.

It is very im­por­tant to us that Cana­di­ans un­der­stand Matthew’s story and un­der­stand the truth of what hap­pened to him. No hu­man be­ing who is in prison should be phys­i­cally and chem­i­cally abused by guards as Matthew was. And no hu­man be­ing should ever be ig­nored by med­i­cal per­son­nel when they are in med­i­cal dis­tress.

The fact that Matthew was treated with such in­dig­nity breaks our heart. We know that Matthew, for all of his strug­gles, would never have treated an­other hu­man be­ing that way.”

This file photo shows Matthew Hines’ sis­ters, Wendy Gil­lis and He­len Ma­cLeod. The fam­ily says its grate­ful for the ef­fort put in on the case by the Of­fice of the Cor­rec­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tor .

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