(File photo by Tom Zytaruk)

Transgender inmate in Surrey denied transfer to women’s prison

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has rejected a petition asking him to declare Surrey Pretrial’s decision not to grant a transgender inmate a transfer to a women’s prison unreasonable and unfair.

Bianca Bailey Lovado, who identifies as a transgender female, unsuccessfully sought the order in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster under the Judicial Review Procedure Act, with Justice Paul Riley presiding.

Counsel for respondent Ken Bush, acting warden of Surrey Pretrial Services Centre, argued that because Lovado was granted judicial interim release – bail – between when the petition was filed and the date of the hearing, the court should dismiss the petition as moot.

“After hearing submissions on that issue, I concluded the matter was moot, and that it was not an appropriate case for the court to exercise its discretion to entertain the petition,” Riley explained in his Nov. 8 reasons for judgment.

The court heard Lovado requested to be transferred to the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women after being arrested Oct. 22, 2018 on “criminal charges” and being held at Surrey Pretrial, a provincial lock-up for male inmates.

READ ALSO: Transgender inmate makes human rights complaint against Surrey Pretrial

READ ALSO: Surrey Pretrial inmate lodges human rights complaint for not being fed kosher food

Lovado did this pursuant to the Transgender Inmates Policy found in the B.C. Corrections branch’s Adult Custody Policy Manual. But the request was denied, resulting in Lovado filing a complaint under Section 37 of the Correction Act Regulation.

The acting warden dismissed the complaint on March 20, 2019. That same day, Lovado launched an action aimed at quashing the acting warden’s decision, alleging it was not unreasonable and not rendered in a “procedurally fair” manner. The petitioner was subsequently granted bail on Sept. 25.

Riley noted that between June 3, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2015 Lovado did time at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre for men before being transferred to the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women. Lovado was released from there on Feb. 16, 2016, and then was held at Surrey Pretrial from Nov. 6, 2017 to Dec. 22, 2017, from January 11, 2018 to May 1, 2018, and from June 17, 2018 to July 30, 2018.

The judge noted that as Lovado did not seek a “declaration as to future rights, but rather a declaration that a past, case-specific decision was either made in a procedurally unfair manner or was unreasonable,” he did not see how “such a declaration would be of practical utility to the Petitioner or to anyone else.”

Riley said the relief sought in Lovado’s petition “does not weigh in favour of an expenditure of scarce judicial resources.”

“Another important consideration is the notion that pronouncing on the merits of the petition despite the absence of a continuing concrete legal controversy would take the court beyond its proper adjudicative role, and would thus intrude on the legislated decision making authority of those charged with administering provincial remand facilities.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ballenas Whalers football players honoured after stellar high school season

Chomolok, Rykers earn most valuable player accolades

‘Elizabeth Little Waterfront Park’ proposed in Qualicum Beach

It was first announced in 2018 that St. Andrews Lodge would be turned into a public space

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

WATCH: Find a perfect venue at Hitched Wedding & Events Affair

Check out vendors, venues and more at the Comox Community Centre today until 4 p.m.

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

Most Read