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Murderer seeks damages for rectal search at prison

Darren Sundman says he suffered "significant pain and soreness" from a guard's search of his anal cavity
prison bars

A man serving a life sentence for the murder of a rival just outside Prince George is seeking damages for the treatment he allegedly received during a strip search at a federal penitentiary.

In a notice of civil claim filed March 24, Darren Cayley Daniel Sundman says the search, in which a guard allegedly probed his anal cavity, left him with abrasions and bruises and prompted him to try to commit suicide.

According to the claim, the incident occurred at Kent Institution in Agassiz, B.C. on Feb. 19, 2021 when guards attempted to carry out an "involuntary" transfer to a prison in Donnacona, Que. 

Sundman tried to barricade himself in his unit but guards were able to pry the door open. He was restrained and in accordance with policy, taken to admissions and discharge where he and other inmates were in the process of being transferred to other prisons.

In accordance with policy, they were to be strip searched and Sundman was taken to a washroom to go through the step. While fully nude, Sundman dropped a small cellphone, a USB cable and a USB charging block from his buttocks.

Guards immediately threw him to the ground with his face on the floor and handcuffed him behind his back and one of the guards inserted two fingers into his anus to "dig around" the cavity, the claim says. No more objects were recovered. 

As a result, Sundman "felt significant pain and soreness in his buttocks and buttocks cheeks, as well as pain and bruising on his face and chest." As well, no medical attention was provided and the incident occurred in a washroom with no door and therefore in full view of anyone who may in the area, the claim states.

A grievance was filed with Corrections Canada but the conclusion was downgraded from "use of force" to "sexual harassment" and no corrective actions were taken. Sundman, meanwhile, attempted to hang himself upon arrival in Quebec and fell unconscious before staff found him.

Originally found guilty of second-degree murder in January 2015 for the shooting of Jordan Taylor McLeod, the conviction for Sundman was upgraded to first-degree murder upon appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

None of the allegations have been tested in court and none of the defendants - Corrections Canada, the Attorney General,  the warden of Kent Institution and three unidentified guards - have filed responses.