Inmate who went missing in Metchosin prison has charges stayed

An inmate who went missing at William Head Institution in Metchosin last September has had a charge of escaping lawful custody stayed by Crown counsel.

Michael Gordon Hollinger, who is in his 60s, was eventually found on the grounds of the waterfront prison, leading the Crown to determine the evidence wasn’t sufficient for a substantial likelihood of conviction on the charge, said Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie.

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Hollinger did not respond to an intercom page on the evening of Sept. 18, prompting a search that involved a helicopter, a marine unit and police dogs. At the time, West Shore RCMP said Hollinger, with close to 200 convictions on his record, was to be considered a violent escapee. He was found two hours later near the water.

Hollinger is serving a life sentence for a 1994 bank robbery in Ontario, during which he shot and injured five people, including three police officers. He has twice escaped from other facilities.

The incident with Hollinger came less than two weeks after two other William Head inmates were briefly on the run after escaping from the minimum-security prison. The pair swam about 200 metres at low tide to a nearby beach, then split up. Both men were found.

Brian Peter Patrick, serving a life sentence for murder, was given an additional year to run consecutively with that term. Dean Allen Benton, serving eight years for robbery, was given a 10-month sentence.

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