NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS1130) – Could the same argument be made in other cases? Lawyers for a convicted killer say poor conditions at the Surrey Pretrial Service Centre should lead to a reduced sentence.

Defence Lawyer Hovan Patey represents Steven Mulligan-Brum, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting of Surrey teen Adem Aliu two years ago.

The conviction brings a minimum four years in prison, minus time served. Patey says jail conditions endured by Mulligan-Brum in 2010 during construction, described in court as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, should be taken into account in sentencing.

“You heard he was spent in a gym area, sleeping on the floor with 40 other people, one washroom between them,” Patey says. “These are the kinds of conditions people are enduring in our remand centres, as I understand it, all over the province. In this particular case it was due to construction.”

Patey claims his client was made to wash dishes in that single bathroom, which was apparently soaked with urine, and was only allowed to wash bed sheets once per month.

Patey says inmates were kept this way during renovations, all of whom had yet to be proven guilty in court. He adds there was even an outbreak of Scabies in which he says proper treatment was not given for a significant period of time.

In the meantime, a $90-million expansion of the Surrey Pretrial Service Centre is underway. BC’s Ministry of Justice says 216 new cells are being constructed.