Aboriginal rights not violated by some prison tests says Federal Court of Appeal

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VANCOUVER - A panel of the Federal Court of Appeal has unanimously overturned a lower court ruling that found the charter rights of aboriginal inmates were violated by certain psychological tests.

The tests, designed to assess personality disorders and the risk of repeat offences, were challenged by British Columbia inmate Jeffrey Ewert.

He argued the tests were culturally biased and adversely affected his security clearance and eligibility for parole or day passes.

The Federal Court agreed and ordered corrections officials to stop using the assessments, at least until their reliability on adult aboriginal offenders had been demonstrated.

But in a ruling released this week in Ottawa, Justice Eleanor Dawson says the Federal Court judge was wrong to accept that the "assessment tools generate results that are inaccurate or unreliable in a material way."

She finds Ewert's charter argument fails because he could not offer the required level of proof that the tests provide false results or conclusions when administered to aboriginals.

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