Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2000
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2000 Southam Inc.
Contact:  300 - 1450 Don Mills Road, Don Mills, Ontario M3B 3R5
Fax: (416) 442-2209
Author: Mike Blanchfield and Jim Bronskill


Former inmate found document government said couldn't be located

OTTAWA - The government used "evasive" tactics to stonewall a former
inmate's lawsuit over a prison LSD experiment, says a scathing court ruling
that orders the head of Corrections Canada to testify in the case.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice, which is hearing the case, considered
halting the action and declaring victory for the woman who launched the
lawsuit, because of the government's failure to disclose information to her
lawyers about use of the hallucinogen in Canadian prisons in the late 1950s
and early 1960s.

"Although the court is tempted to strike the defendant's statement of
defence, it will not do so," wrote Master Robert Beaudoin, the court
official adjudicating the preliminary stages of the lawsuit, in a ruling
released this week. "The court cannot help but express its dismay at the
lack of production made by the defendant."

Dorothy Proctor is suing Corrections Canada for giving her LSD in 1961
while she was a 17-year-old inmate at the Prison for Women in Kingston,
Ont. Ms. Proctor was one of 23 female inmates administered the
mind-altering drug as part of a study, and she alleges the experience left
her with brain damage and terrifying hallucinations.

Mr. Beaudoin ordered the government to disclose hundreds of pages of
historical documents to Ms. Proctor's lawyers.

He also accepted Ms. Proctor's argument that Ole Ingstrup, head of
Corrections Canada, should testify about the LSD lawsuit, citing the
government's failure to supply a sworn affidavit of documents, the lack of
disclosure to date and the "evasive material" filed by federal officials.

Mr. Beaudoin also ordered the government to pay thousands of dollars to
compensate Ms. Proctor's lawyers for wasted time because of the disclosure

Corrections Canada has until the middle of next week to respond to the
issue of costs and to argue why Mr. Ingstrup should be spared from giving a
sworn deposition.

"It is hard, under the circumstances, to resist the conclusion that
[Corrections Canada's] refusal to disclose these documents is not a result
of a deliberate attempt to delay these proceedings and to discourage this
elderly, impecunious plaintiff from proceeding further," he wrote in the
toughly worded 15-page judgment.

Mr. Beaudoin noted that although the government faced a daunting task in
tracking down the historical material, it nonetheless managed to find and
release material to the media under the Access to Information Act,
including documents not made available to Ms. Proctor's lawyers. He said
Ms. Proctor herself went to the National Archives and found a relevant
document that Corrections claimed a team of its researchers could not

Indeed, hundreds of pages of material -- not initially available to Ms.
Proctor's lawyers -- have been released to Southam News and the Ottawa
Citizen under a series of Access to Information requests over the last year
and a half.

The material shows:

- - Prison officials considered administering LSD to inmates in 1958 at the
now-closed B.C. Penitentiary.

- - There were internal government debates over the years on the
appropriateness of research involving prisoners.

- - Corrections officials embarked on an extensive hunt for archival
documents, academic articles and former prison personnel in response to a
1998 Southam/Citizen series that showed hundreds of federal inmates were
used in trials of untested pharmaceuticals, sensory-deprivation research
and aversion therapy involving electric shock.
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