Yukon’s Justice Department disputes Michael Nehass’s claims that he was stripped and forced to appear naked in a Yukon courtroom in January.
“Unfortunately all I can say is that we dispute his assertion that he was stripped. We will be presenting our information to the Yukon Human Rights Commission,” said Justice Department spokesman Dan Cable.
The department also says Nehass hasn’t been held in solitary confinement for 28 months, despite that assertion being the basis of a human rights complaint his family has filed against the department.
“I can’t confirm that, but if you look at the data it becomes obvious that that statement can’t be true,” Cable said.
When the News first asked the department to respond to Nehass’s allegations last week, Cable refused to comment at all, citing privacy concerns.
Statistics provided by Cable show that the longest anyone has been in segregation over the course of the past year is seven months.
The longest uninterrupted stretch in solitary that anyone has served is just shy of four months, Cable said, though he said he could not comment on which inmate served this stretch because of the territory’s privacy legislation.
He also wouldn’t say what the most cumulative time any single inmate has spent in segregation while incarcerated, because the jail doesn’t have that data, he said.
“That would require a long, long amount of work for us to go back. We don’t have a computer system that would churn out that kind of data right away. We’re in the process of installing it, but it will be another 16 months or so,” Cable said.
Of the 887 inmates who were admitted to the Whitehorse Correctional Centre over the course of the last year, 60 were placed in segregation for some period of time.
Of those, 43 were put in segregation because their behaviour posed a threat to either themselves or others in the jail.
Three inmates were placed there voluntarily and 10 were put there for medical observation.
Earlier this year Nehass appeared on a courtroom TV screen shackled, naked, and pinned to the floor by guards in riot gear.
He is currently facing charges of assaulting a Watson Lake woman, threatening her with a knife and threatening to kill her family. Since being locked up, he has racked up charges for assaulting jail staff, destroying jail property and attempting to escape.
He claims that he is being held in segregation because of information he has which proves the Yukon government has “gone fully rogue” and is secretly putting nanochips inside inmates’ heads.
In April the Justice Department began hearings to examine whether Nehass is fit to stand trial, but those hearings were halted at Nehass’s request. He was back in court on Tuesday via TV camera from the jail seeking a new psychiatric assessment.
As members of the court and public waited for Justice Leigh Gower, Nehass could be seen on the TV screen rocking back and forth and talking rapidly to someone off-camera. The audio was switched off.
At one point, while the court dealt with another matter before moving on to Nehass’s application, he stood up and began shouting at the camera.
Once his hearing began and the audio was turned on, Nehass immediately became agitated, yelling at Gower about a previous request to appear in person instead of via a TV camera.
Gower admitted that he’d forgotten about that particular request, at which point Nehass shouted, “I don’t care if you forgot. We’re standing down until I’m in person.”
He stormed off camera, still shouting about a conspiracy between the Yukon government, the Bilderberg Group and the Freemasons.
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