(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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

LETTER: Horgan has gall wasting taxpayer money amid COVID

Senior upset by election call at a time when she can’t even afford her prescriptions

OUR VIEW: Election could well backfire on Horgan

Are voters angry enough to cast NDP out, after sending us to the polls in the middle of a pandemic?

Downtown Maple Ridge BIA helping to stock the shelves for the food bank

Participating businesses will have donation boxes available for the month of October

City of Maple Ridge continues the hunt for new industrial land

Since 2014, 203 acres of industrial land has been designated for future employment needs

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read