June 24, 2019 6:05 pm

B.C.’s top court upholds ruling that struck down Canada’s solitary confinement law

A solitary confinement cell is shown in a handout photo from the Office of the Correctional Investigator. British Columbia's top court

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO- Office of the Correctional Investigator
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British Columbia’s Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Canada’s solitary confinement law.

The Appeal Court ruled unanimously that a law that allows for the prolonged and indefinite use of segregation in prison “offends the fundamental norms of a free and democratic society.”

READ MORE: Feds wins last-ditch reprieve for law which allows prisoner isolation in Canada

The federal government appealed the B.C. Supreme Court’s ruling of the legal challenge brought by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada.

WATCH: (Aired May 14, 2018) ‘Your rights are illusory’: solitary confinement survivor speaks out

The Appeal Court allowed the appeal in part, saying that while the law should be struck down under section seven of the charter, it should not be struck down under section 15.

READ MORE: B.C. Appeal Court gives Ottawa until mid-June to fix solitary confinement law

Section seven relates to the right to life, liberty and security of the person, while section 15 protects equality rights, in this case of mentally ill and Indigenous inmates.

Parliament passed a new solitary-confinement law on Friday, but BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson says it still allows for inmates to be kept in cells the size of parking spaces for 22 hours or more a day.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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