Razor slashing at courthouse cause for concern, officials say

Authorities are saying little about an incident at the Kamloops courthouse Tuesday that saw a distraught inmate who had been denied bail slash himself with a razor.

Leonard Neveu applied for bail in provincial court after being arrested on allegations he had assaulted his wife. The man appeared in court in the afternoon.

After being denied bail, the man was taken back into the cells area. Shortly after, he cut himself in the neck and arm, apparently with a razor blade. He was taken to Royal Inland Hospital for treatment.

Neveu had been transported to the Kamloops courthouse from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre earlier in the day. It's not known how he came to have the razor in his possession.

Kamloops sheriff supervisor Barry Adkins refused to comment, saying only the matter is under investigation. He said his inquiry could take a couple of days to complete.

Kamloops RCMP spokesman Const. Bernie Ward said police were called to assist the ambulance paramedics.

Ward said the RCMP might eventually be required to launch its own investigation, as the presence of a dangerous weapon in the hands of an in-custody inmate at the courthouse is cause for serious concern.

While it appears Neveu chose to harm himself, the razor blade could have been wielded as a weapon against others at the courthouse as well.

Ward said it's an unfortunate reality; inmates are sometimes able to smuggle weapons like razor blades in and out of secure facilities like courthouses and jails.

Sometimes, inmates pry apart disposable razors and hide the small, thin blades in the thick seams of their clothing. The weapons are extremely difficult to detect and can pose significant risk to others. It's also possible someone else passed the blade to Neveu before or after his courtroom appearance.

Ward said Neveu was arrested by the Kamloops RCMP and transferred to KRCC Sunday. B.C. Corrections officials contacted by The Daily News had no comment.

Dean Purdy, the BCGEU's chairman of the sheriffs and corrections services component, said incidents like this a unfortunate part of the job.

These incidents highlight the need for sufficient numbers of sheriffs in courthouses, he added. Sheriffs are responsible for the protection of the public as well as inmates and each other and can only do the job properly when there is sufficient staff on hand.

"It's reality in our line of work," he said.

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