TORONTO, Ont. – The inquest into the prison death of troubled teen Ashley Smith has seen the video of the final moments in her life.
Guard Rudy Burnett, who took the video, took the stand for a second day on Tuesday, after the video was shown on Monday. He was cross-examined by several lawyers.
Burnett told the courtroom that he was shocked he was arrested and grilled about his involvement in connection to the teen’s death. He was charged with criminal negligence and failing to provide the necessities of life, but those charges were later dropped.
Smith strangled herself in the isolation cell at the Grand Valley Institution in Kitchener, back in October 2007, following four years in and out of jail, with the last year spent mostly in segregation.
She was initially arrested and imprisoned at the age of 13 for throwing crab apples and shoplifting.
The video showed Smith, 19, lying in her cell, gasping for air with a ligature around her neck, while guards, under orders not to intervene, stood and watched. It took at least 20 minutes before anyone entered the cell and began CPR.
Burnett said he was pressed into filming Smith’s death. When asked during Tuesday’s cross-examination if he had ever received training for inmates with mental illness, he answered “I don’t recall.”
The other guards who witnessed Smith’s death were expected to testify later, Tuesday afternoon.