Melvin Jr. al­leges sys­tem out to get him

On re­mand 2½ years, pris­oner claims most of that was in iso­la­tion

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE -

A Hal­i­fax man who has been re­manded in provin­cial prison sys­tem for more than two years says he no longer has any faith in the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

James Bernard Melvin Jr., 35, told Pic­tou provin­cial court Thurs­day that he once re­spected the jus­tice sys­tem but now, after liv­ing most of the last 2½ years on re­mand and in iso­la­tion, he feels it’s out to get him rather than help him.

“There are a lot of weird things go­ing on in the jus­tice sys­tem,” he said. “I thought the place was to be re­spected, but I don’t feel that now.”

Melvin was tes­ti­fy­ing as part of a hear­ing to de­ter­mine if he should be sent for a men­tal health as­sess­ment in re­la­tion to charges of as­sault­ing peace of­fi­cers in De­cem­ber 2016 at the North East Nova Sco­tia Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity in Pri­estville. The as­sess­ment would de­ter­mine whether he was crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble at the time of the al­leged in­ci­dent and if he is fit to stand trial re­gard­ing men­tal health is­sues.

Melvin said he has been re­ferred for three psy­chi­atric as­sess­ments in the past to the East Coast Foren­sic Hos­pi­tal but he al­leges trans­porta­tion is­sues within the corrections depart­ment have kept him from go­ing.

His lawyer, Doug Lloy, con­firmed his client has brief as­sess­ments done at the Cen­tral Nova Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity which de­ter­mined he was crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble and men­tally fit to face charges in court.

How­ever, he said, the as­sess­ments were not done at the hos­pi­tal, but rather the prison, and were brief. Lloy said based on Melvin’s tes­ti­mony Thurs­day, it is ev­i­dent his client is un­der sig­nif­i­cant men­tal stress.

Melvin told the court he has trans­ferred to a new prison about ev­ery 30 days which makes up to about 75 moves in the last 2 ½ years.

He claims most of his time he has been liv­ing in iso­la­tion in a six- by eight-foot cell and al­leges he has been de­nied ev­ery­thing from re­li­gious read­ing ma­te­rial to his own dis­clo­sure in­for­ma­tion from his cases.

Melvin said he knows he is a fa­mil­iar name in the jus­tice sys­tem. He has been re­manded in the past be­fore this most re­cent time in cus­tody.

He said he doesn’t trust cor­rec­tion of­fi­cers, claim­ing he has had sex­ual re­la­tions with some in the past, both in and out of the prison. He al­leged that some of th­ese fe­male of­fi­cers he had re­la­tions with are now in man­age­ment po­si­tions and he be­lieves they are re­spon­si­ble for his cur­rent trans­fers and de­nial of his pris­oner rights.

Melvin was re­cently found not guilty on a first-de­gree mur­der charge in re­la­tion to the death of Terry Mar­riott Jr. He is now set for a jury trial this com­ing week on at­tempt­ing to com­mit mur­der.

In re­gard to the al­leged in­ci­dents on Dec. 5, 2016, at the North East Nova Sco­tia Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, Melvin said he is un­able to re­call the events of the day.

“I have been trans­ferred so many times. What hap­pened that time?” he asked his lawyer. He al­leges he had many bad days in the past and men­tal health ser­vices at the Pri­estville fa­cil­ity are in­ad­e­quate.

Re­cently, he said, he was trans­ferred to a cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity in Cape Bre­ton where he was not in iso­la­tion but rather a large, dor­mi­tory-style room with 20 other men and there were no is­sues with the staff or fel­low in­mates.

“There are no walls. I could have walked over and jumped on any of th­ese men in the mid­dle of the night. For them to house me in dif­fer­ent places for two and a half years and say that I am this and that, and then take me to Syd­ney with open walls for kicks and gig­gles for a bunch of old broads try­ing to get their jol­lies off.”

Pic­tou provin­cial court judge Del At­wood has re­served de­ci­sion un­til Mon­day as to whether Melvin should be sent for a men­tal health as­sess­ment. If the as­sess­ment is not granted, Lloy will be ex­pected to en­ter an elec­tion on the in­dictable charges on his client’s be­half.

Melvin Jr.

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