Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Christie Blatchford: Jury watches shocking prison cell video of Ashley Smith’s life slipping away

For the first time, the video depicting the asphyxiation of teenager Ashley Smith in a federal prison has been played in full in public.

Until Monday, when a five-member jury watched the 75-minute video at the coroner’s inquest examining Ashley’s Oct. 19, 2007, death at Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women, only limited excerpts had been played, and only in court proceedings and a CBC documentary.

It is the first 15 minutes or so which are most shocking because what they document are the young woman’s dying, as the pauses between her laboured breaths grew ever-long until they finally stopped.

The camera was then being operated by Valentino (Rudy) Burnett, a correctional officer who was temporarily working at Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women.

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