Kamloops man who killed teenager in hit and run sues prison guards, inmates | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man who killed teenager in hit and run sues prison guards, inmates

Jason Charles Gourlay.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Facebook

KAMLOOPS - A man convicted of a hit and run that killed a Kamloops teenager nearly two years ago has launched a lawsuit after facing two separate assaults while in custody.

Jennifer Gatey died in November 2016 after being struck by a vehicle driven by Jason Gourlay while waiting for a bus in Aberdeen. She died just hours before her 17th birthday.

Gourlay spent time in custody before he was sentenced earlier this year for failing to remain at the scene of an accident. According to the lawsuit, Gourlay is launching action against two inmates, two prison guards and the provincial government for two separate assaults he faced at two different prisons.

The lawsuit details how Gourlay was taken to Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre shortly after his arrest in March 2017. He told staff at the prison that he was concerned for his safety, but claims he was not placed in protective custody.

On March 9, 2017, Gourlay was granted bail in Kamloops court and headed back to the prison before he would be released in the morning. When he got back, he allegedly told either both or one of the guards in the lawsuit that he was concerned for his safety. This came after an inmate allegedly made a threatening gesture toward Gourlay. No additional safety measures were put in place for Gourlay, according to the lawsuit.

The following morning, Gourlay was assaulted by fellow inmate Brock Ledoux in an act of "vigilantism." Ledoux was charged and sentenced for aggravated assault after the incident.

"At the time of his guilty plea, Brock Ledoux did not express remorse and instead made claims to the effect that he had done the right thing," the lawsuit alleges.

Gourlay's lawsuit argues that the assault caused, or was contributed to, by the negligence of the provincial government, which include failing to take reasonable safety measures, failing to ensure Gourlay was held in a unit with a reasonable level of security, failing to advise Gourlay of the availability of protective custody especially considering his high-profile case, failing to ensure Ledoux and an unnamed inmate were secured in a unit with reasonable security especially considering both of their past offences and risk to other inmates, and failing to intervene or stop the assault.

The two unnamed prison guards are being sued for ignoring Gourlay's concerns and failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure his safety.

Gourlay's injuries from the assault included an injured jaw, multiple scrapes and bruises, multiple concussions, a traumatic brain injury, headaches, short-term memory deficits, emotional trauma and loss of sleep.

The lawsuit claims after the assault, Gourlay's transfer to a treatment centre was hampered by the injuries he suffered in the assault and he was unable to complete the program. He was re-arrested and brought to Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.

While in custody there, Gourlay was allegedly repeatedly assaulted by his cellmate on April 26. He claims the same criminal negligence on the part of the province for this assault. His injuries from the first assault were allegedly re-aggravated.

The unnamed guards, both inmates and the provincial government have not yet filed statements of response to the allegations. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Find past stories on Gourlay's case here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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