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No further action to be taken against N.B. jail guards in death of inmate: Crown

Matthew Ryan Hines is shown in a handout photo. The Canadian Press/HO-Wendy Gillis MANDATORY CREDIT

New Brunswick’s Public Prosecution Services says it will take no further action against a pair of New Brunswick jail guards who were charged with manslaughter and criminal negligence in the 2015 death of inmate Matthew Hines.

Alvida Ross and Mathieu Bourgoin were charged after Hines was repeatedly pepper-sprayed at the Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick.

A provincial court judge dismissed the charges against Ross and Bourgoin in April, ruling that they would not stand trial after a preliminary hearing in which he found the guards’ use of pepper spray against Hines was reasonable.

READ MORE: 2 correctional officers charged in 2015 death of N.B. inmate

On Wednesday, the service in charge of prosecutions in the province announced that after “an extensive and careful review,” it has decided it will not ask for a judicial review of the decision or file a direct indictment against the pair.

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As a result, no further action will be taken against Bourgoin or Ross.

Hines had been serving a five-year sentence at the penitentiary when New Brunswick RCMP were alerted on May 27, 2015 that an inmate had been pronounced dead at Moncton City Hospital.

An initial RCMP investigation said foul play was not suspected in the death, but Canada’s correctional investigator, Ivan Zinger, found prison staff used unnecessary force and failed to properly respond to a medical emergency.

But New Brunswick’s Public Prosecution Services says the decision by Judge Ronald LeBlanc has provided them with few options.

WATCH: Judge dismisses charges against jail guards in death of N.S. inmate

Click to play video: 'Judge dismisses charges against jail guards in death of N.S. inmate' Judge dismisses charges against jail guards in death of N.S. inmate
Judge dismisses charges against jail guards in death of N.S. inmate – Apr 5, 2019

The service said the only potential reasons for a judicial review would be if the court judge had “exceeded his or her jurisdiction,” and that didn’t occur in this case.

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The prosecutors also said a direct indictment wasn’t an option because there isn’t a reasonable prospect of conviction.

“It must further be noted that during this difficult review process, it was never lost on Public Prosecution Services that Matthew Hines died while in the care of the state,” read the release.

“He was a valued individual, particularly so to his family, who will forever suffer his loss.”

—With files from the Canadian Press

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