Michel Lapointe, also known as Big Mike, was released early from a Quebec prison because the facility couldn't accommodate his 430-lb. frame. (QMI Agency/Pierre-Paul Poulin)
MONTREAL - Quebec's human rights commission fined the province's public security ministry $10,000 for not reasonably accommodating a morbidly obese detainee who weighed 430 pounds.
The human rights commission also ordered the security ministry to renovate two of its detention centres to accommodate overweight prisoners.
Michel "Big Mike" Lapointe, 41, was arrested in September 2006 for conspiracy, drug trafficking and trafficking for the profit of a criminal organization.
Big Mike complained to the commission in 2008 that he was not given the "necessary accommodations" for his handicap. The commission unanimously ruled last month that Big Mike was right.
Lapointe weighed 375 pounds when he entered the detention centre and 430 pounds when he was released more than two years later. Big Mike complained to the commission that his body exceeded his bed by six inches on either side. He also complained that his health deteriorated while he was detained as the hospital equipment was not adapted for his weight.
The commission ruled last month that the province's security ministry must pay Big Mike $10,000 - $7,000 for moral damages and $3,000 as a punitive measure. The commission also ruled that the ministry must renovate "several cells" to accommodate people with handicaps, including those who are morbidly obese.
Quebec's public security ministry has until Oct. 12 to comply with the commission's ruling or it can appeal the decision in court. A spokesperson from the ministry told QMI Agency Friday that it had not yet made a decision.