Prison guards at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge protest low staffing levels, and calling for more support of guards involved in violent incidents. (THE NEWS/files)

Corrections officers to stand trial in 2020

Four charged in connection with incident at Maple Ridge prison

Four B.C. Corrections officers charged with assault causing bodily harm will stand trial in 2020.

Matthew Aaron Black, Luke James Poelzer, Ryan Thomas Saunders and Neil Jamieson Mackenzie Stirton were in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on Tuesday, when their date to stand trial on the charges was set for Jan. 13, 2020, said the court registry.

The charges were laid after the investigation of a violent incident at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge on Sept. 18, 2017.

That same incident resulted in eight officers being fired and six disciplined.

On Friday, the prison guards rallied at the prison’s main gate on 256th Street to protest the firings, and call for a lower ratio of prison guards to inmates.

“This is a year to the date of the anniversary where six of our correctional officers were fired for a use of force incident,” union rep Dean Purdy said of the BCGEU.

He added that they were also protesting an increase in violence against the members.

“We want to see some more support for correctional officers who have to use force, and who are subject to assaults from inmates.”

While eight officers were fired, the union is taking the cases of only six of those members to labour arbitration, calling them wrongful dismissals.

Purdy said he would not comment on the cases of the other two members.

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