Ontario's Ministry of Correctional Services has filed its defence in a lawsuit by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's former brother-in-law, denying the allegation that correctional officers conspired with the mayor to arrange a jailhouse attack in March, 2012.
Scott MacIntyre, the former common-law spouse of Mr. Ford's sister, Kathy, filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against the mayor and the province in January. That lawsuit alleges Mr. Ford conspired with a former football player and prison staff to have Mr. MacIntyre beaten while he was in the Toronto West Detention Centre.
In a statement of defence filed on Monday, the province "specifically denies that any of its employees conspired to intentionally facilitate the attack as alleged," and claims Mr. MacIntyre misled prison staff and refused to co-operate after the incident.
Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe and Mail in an earlier interview that the attack shattered his teeth and broke his leg. He alleged it was organized by Mr. Ford and Aedan Petros, who played football for Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, to "keep my mouth shut" about the mayor's alleged drug use.
But the province says that after prison staff found Mr. MacIntyre on the floor fully clothed outside a washroom, "the plaintiff told the physician that he slipped and fell in the shower and hurt his knee." The statement says both prison staff and a doctor asked Mr. MacIntyre several times about the attack, and each time, he "repeated his story that he had slipped in the shower."
Four days after, the statement reads, Mr. MacIntyre gave prison staff a different account of the incident, saying he and another inmate had argued because the other inmate "insisted that he get the newspaper before the plaintiff's friend" and the two "decided to go to the washroom to settle the dispute."
When pressed for the name of the other inmate, Mr. MacIntyre allegedly refused, saying he was not "a rat."
The statement also addresses Mr. MacIntyre's claim prison staff were negligent or complicit because video surveillance was "inexplicably disabled" before the attack. The province says the area was regularly patrolled and under video surveillance (only the recording function was decommissioned, and at least a year before the attack).
And although Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe that, for weeks, Mr. Petros "was trying to push himself on me, to intimidate me," the province says Mr. MacIntyre never asked to be in protective custody, nor did he "advise [jail] staff that he was being threatened or feared for his safety." Mr. MacIntyre disputes this, saying in his statement that he reported the threats to prison staff, and made repeated requests to move to a different range of the jail that typically houses older and calmer inmates.
Mr. MacIntyre's lawsuit also names Mr. Petros (who was serving five years for armed robbery and home invasion), and Payman Aboodowleh (a former football coach at Don Bosco, where Mr. Ford coached until 2013). Mr. MacIntyre himself was in custody at the time for uttering threats against Mr. Ford.
The mayor filed his own statement of defence last week, saying Mr. MacIntyre's claim "knowingly lacks merit, is frivolous, and vexatious."
He and the province have asked for the case to be dismissed. None of the allegations have been proven in court.