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Yukon man sues for $3M over treatment in jail, secure hospital unit

Events complained of date back to 2020, conduct of arresting officers also still under investigation
The interior of a Whitehorse courtroom. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)

A lawsuit filed with the Yukon Supreme Court on Nov. 10 adds to the list of complaints lodged by inmates against the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC).

The matter brought to the court by Paul Fraughton also claims hospital staff violated his rights.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the Yukon government, the Yukon Hospital Corporation and nine individuals — five listed as corrections officers or management, two nurses and the other two of unspecified association to the case.

Fraughton’s lawsuit alleges his rights were breached while held at WCC or in the secure medical unit at Whitehorse General Hospital between July 7, 2020, and Nov. 14 of that same year.

He was released from custody on Nov. 14.

His statement of claim says that while in the jail, he experienced negligence and breaches of his rights to life, liberty and security of the person as well as ignoring legal protection from cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

He specifically claims that his cell was unlocked for less than two hours per day and his access to reading and writing materials, television and recreational activities were restricted. Also claimed is limited access to physical health and dental care.

Fraughton also claims instances of excessive or unnecessary force by corrections officers and nurses.

Three of the events are said to have taken place within a week in late July 2020: an incident where Fraughton was allegedly tackled and invasively searched in the jail’s arrest processing unit, one where he was forced to the floor of his cell by helmeted and shield-bearing officers before he was injected with medication against his will and his forcible transportation back to WCC from the secure unit at the hospital. Fraughton claims the transport again involved restraint by armoured officers and an involuntary injection of medication.

He claims another involuntary administration of medication took place in his cell at the correctional centre in August 2020.

Effects of his allleged treatment claimed by Fraughton include injuries to his arm and neck, a black eye, psychological trauma, distress and humiliation and a loss of trust in law enforcement and health-care professionals. He is seeking $3 million in damages and reimbursement of his legal costs.

The allegations in the lawsuit have not been heard or proven in court.

There is also an ongoing investigatin into the RCMP’s use of force when they arrested Fraughton in Whitehorse’s Rotary Park on July 6, 2020. The investigation was launched after a witness uploaded a first-hand account of the arrest, describing it as “brutal” with a photo.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), an organization that investigates police conduct in the Yukon, announced it would be opening an investigation four days after Fraughton’s arrest. ASIRT said RCMP officers were responding to a call about a man with an axe when they arrested Fraughton.

On Nov. 29, an ASIRT representative said their investigation is ongoing.

The charges against Fraughton relating to the incident, filed following his arrest, were withdrawn last year.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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