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Appeal of inmate beating conviction dismissed

The Alberta Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of a Grovedale man convicted in the beating of a fellow inmate at the Peace River Correctional Centre. Herbert Charles Wanihadie was sentenced to 6.5 years in jail in June 2020 for his part in the beating of Dylan Gogan at the corrections facility on March 10, 2018.

Wanihadie was one of three convicted in the attack. The other inmates were each sentenced to just over three-and-a-half years of jail time after pleading guilty.

In his appeal, Wanihadie raised multiple grounds of appeal, including questions of whether the trial judge erred in his decision to admit identification evidence from corrections officers, dismissing claims of self-defence, and denying a mistrial.

In the decision filed Wednesday, a panel of justices determined Justice J.T. Neilson did not err in his decision-making process, other than not pre-qualifying one of the corrections officers as a witness. However, the court found the evidence would clearly have been admitted if that process had been followed.

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It’s explained that Wanihadie and Gogan were cellmates who started arguing about Gogan sleeping on the floor. That led to a physical altercation in the common area involving the three accused which ended with Gogan getting pushed back into the cell.

Gogan returned several minutes later and picked up a chair and coffee pot lid, but it’s reported he never swung the chair at Wanihadie and the lid popped out of his hand when he tried to hit him with it. It’s then that Gogan was knocked to the ground by an unknown man, and had his head and body stomped and kicked by the three accused for 10 seconds.

He was found by corrections officers under a blanket and seizing after being dragged into his cell. Gogan suffered a significant brain injury and was placed in a drug-induced coma, with his prognosis for significant neurological recovery said to be very slim.

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