Man charged with assaulting Vancouver jail guard launches lawsuit

Nicholas Joseph O’Hearn has launched a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver after an altercation in January with a guard at Vancouver’s jail.

A man facing charges following an altercation in January with a guard at Vancouver’s jail has filed a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver alleging a “vicious assault” that resulted in “permanent and serious injury.”

Vancouver police media relations officer Sgt. Jason Robillard said that Nicholas Joseph O’Hearn was arrested Jan. 24 on a Canada-wide warrant.

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The 36-year-old was serving a four-year sentence for robbery. He was out on parole at the time and living at a New Westminster halfway house. The warrant for his arrest was issued after he failed to return to the house by his curfew.

“He was picked up on the warrant and arrested by the Vancouver police and he was taken to jail,” Robillard said.

O’Hearn was taken to the Vancouver jail on Cordova at around 5 p.m., Robillard said, adding that “during the processing of him there was an altercation between him and one of our jail guards… who was assaulted during this altercation.”

Robillard would not comment on the nature of the jail guard’s injuries, but did say that the guard was taken to hospital following the incident.

O’Hearn is now facing charges of assaulting a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer causing bodily harm, as well as a charge of being unlawfully at large.

O’Hearn launched a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court March 18. In the Notice of Civil Claim, he describes the incident as a “swarming and piling-on by several officers” and claims he suffered a number of injuries, including cuts to his face, lip and gum line, trauma to the head, and bruising to the ribs and legs.

He is seeking general damages amounting to $750,000, as well as other damages.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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