Accused in prison fight found not guilty

A man accused of beating another prisoner unconscious in a scrap at the Red Deer Remand Centre last year was found not guilty in Red Deer provincial court Wednesday.

A man accused of beating another prisoner unconscious in a scrap at the Red Deer Remand Centre last year was found not guilty in Red Deer provincial court Wednesday.

William John Crawford, 30, of Regina, had been accused of assault causing bodily harm in connection with a June 9, 2008, fight in a cell at the remand centre that left Peter Kuol Galak out cold on the floor of the cell and suffering from a seizure.

He came to, spitting out blood and broken teeth and had to be helped to walk by other inmates.

Galak later complained of memory loss and spent a day in hospital on two occasions.

Crawford suffered what appeared to be a bloody bite mark on his nose.

Provincial court Judge Jim Mitchell said while it was clear there was an altercation there was no evidence that Crawford wanted to fight and it’s not known what happened in the cell.

The two men had apparently gone there after an earlier dispute. As they argued in the cell block, another inmate pushed the men into a cell and partially closed the door to keep the dispute out of sight of remand officers.

The same inmate testified that Galak challenged Crawford, saying “Come on, come on.”

The inmate soon after heard thumping sounds come from the cell.

Mitchell said the incident showed all the earmarks of a fight that Galak initiated and Crawford acted in self defence.

After Crawford left the cell several other inmates went in and Mitchell said the court can’t assume they played no part in the victim’s injuries.

Galak said he was injured after he was jumped from behind by unknown assailants on the prison stairs.

The judge said the evidence falls short of establishing that a criminal assault occurred.

“After all, a man is entitled to use physical force to defend himself,” said the judge, especially in the “hostile and simmering atmosphere” of a men’s prison.

“The charge fails as not being proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Mitchell cautioned Crawford not to interpret his judgment as a verdict of innocence. “There’s no such verdict in Canada.”

Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander said while the fight may have been consensual Crawford clearly used excessive force.

“In this case, the fight was taken too far.”

Defence lawyer David Willson argued the evidence was full of contradictory accounts as to what happened.

“There’s not a shred of any evidence to show that Mr. Crawford had an intention to fight.”

Just Posted

PHOTO: Rainbow Block Party at Red Deer’s West Park

The Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society hosted a Rainbow Block Party at… Continue reading

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Photos: Smoky conditions in Red Deer

Red Deer and area is experiencing high risk air quality.See related: Red… Continue reading

Committee to decide how millions in Humboldt Broncos donations are split

SASKATOON — Lawyers for the families of some of those who died… Continue reading

Boy, 11, dies after being struck by payloader on southern Alberta ranch

BOW ISLAND, Alta. — A boy has died after an accident on… Continue reading

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government wants to establish a holiday to… Continue reading

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

FREDERICTON — Thousands of police officers and first responders from across the… Continue reading

B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfires

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of… Continue reading

As service refusals make headlines, experts say businesses usually in the wrong

Two Canadian businesses that recently made headlines for refusing customers have learned… Continue reading

Irregular asylum claims increased in July after two months of decline

OTTAWA — The number of irregular border crossers in Canada went up… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month