An inquest into the death of a teenage Canadian prison inmate has opened in Toronto, where coroners are examining video footage of the 19-year-old woman being hooded, manhandled, bound with parcel tape and forcibly injected with anti-psychotic drugs.
Observers say it is Canada’s prison system which is on trial, after the footage was finally released late on Wednesday, following a five-year legal battle to bring the videos into the open.
Ashley Smith was 14 years old when she threw crab apples at a postman, an offence which landed her in a youth facility for a month – a sentence which was constantly extended due to her disruptive and occasional violent behaviour.
After nearly four years of incarceration, the teenager from New Brunswick killed herself in October 2007 – despite being placed under formal suicide watch by the institution where she was held.
A case of the most appalling and barbaric treatment of a mentally ill person.