Mother sues federal government after son dies in custody
Published Tuesday, July 18, 2017 8:41PM CST Last Updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017 8:45PM CST
The mother of a man who was killed while serving time in Saskatchewan Penitentiary has launched a lawsuit against the federal government alleging her medically vulnerable son was placed in a cell within reach of a violent inmate.
Christopher Van Camp, 37, was killed inside the facility on June 7. Inmate Tyler Vandewater is charged with second-degree murder in relation to his death.
Van Camp’s mother, Lauren Laithwaite, said her son’s death would have been prevented.
"I blame the system for this. I don't want my son to have died in vain,” she said. “I don’t want other mothers to go through this. "
She's now taking legal action against Correctional Service Canada and the federal Attorney General. Laithwaite is calling for improvements to the system that she says led to her son’s death.
"I want the government to acknowledge, I want accountability and most of all I want change,” she said.
She said Van Camp should never have been put in prison and that days before he was arrested for breaking parole, he had been on life support after an overdose.
“He didn’t even understand why he was there… he was so sick.”
The statement of claim was filed Monday and says Laithwaite is seeking an unspecified amount in constitutional, aggravated and punitive damages. It says CSC “failed to meet the required standard of care for Van Camp and are thus liable in negligence for his death while in custody.”
The lawsuit also alleges CSC committed battery by re-arresting Van Camp while he was in a vulnerable condition and placing him at the mercy of the inmate who allegedly killed him.
It goes on to read “the CSC failed to diligently police the prisons internal drug economy that allowed Van Camp to continue using drugs while incarcerated."
"They know that there are drugs in there … my son had been caught with drugs in there,” Laithwaite said.
A spokesperson for CSC told CTV News it is currently reviewing the statement of claim.
None of the allegations in the statement of claim or against Vandewater have been proven in court.