Inmate a marked man for reporting crime to RCMP, court told

A KRCC inmate who turned three other prisoners who beat him up over to the RCMP has made himself such a jailhouse pariah he can never return to a life of crime, a lawyer told a judge Tuesday.

Lawyer Don Campbell said his client Kurtis Sundman, 25, did something few inmates ever do - report a crime in prison to the police.

Sundman was being held on bail on charges he confined and beat a Merritt man this past February. Sundman pleaded guilty in B.C. Supreme Court to those charges Tuesday and was jailed 12 more months, on top of the time he has already served.

Shortly after he arrived at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, Sundman was jumped and beaten by three other inmates, Campbell told the court.

Instead of dealing with the matter internally, however, Sundman made a complaint to the RCMP and the three men were charged criminally, something that seriously violates the "con code," the internal jailhouse code of conduct.

He has been a target ever since, the judge was told.

"He's been attacked in the shower a number of times," said Campbell. "He's been punched and kicked every day he was in a general unit. He's been choked unconscious. He was sexually assaulted."

Sundman has even been moved to different prisons with fake names but each time he arrives, inmates are ready to receive him. In the end, prison officials moved Sundman to a special handling unit where he has lived in complete isolation for 23 hours a day.

"He lives there, that is his home," said Campbell. "He understands that is what his reality is."

The long-term impact of Sundman's actions will have the curious effect of making sure he never commits another crime, the court was told.

His reputation in prison now is so widespread, he will always be a target in jail. As a result, when he gets out, Sundman plans to live the strict straight and narrow, in order to keep from ever going back to jail.

"He has achieved a level of infamy such that he does not have the freedom to return to any kind of (criminal) life," Campbell said.

Ironically, it was a "rat," to borrow a term from prison culture, that put Sundman in trouble in the first place.

Sundman's co-accused Joe Gardiner, 22, gave police a lengthy statement in February detailing how he and Sundman dragged Harley Drynock into a Merritt home and beat him for information about who had stolen some marijuana from them earlier in the day.

It was anticipated that Gardiner, who pleaded guilty himself earlier this year and was handed an 18-month conditional sentence, would have been one of the Crown's best witnesses against Sundman had the case gone to trial.

Sundman pleaded guilty on the day his trial was supposed to start.

It's not known where in the provincial prison system the apparently marked man will serve his sentence.

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