The plastic-cutlery caper: Jail escape hits the wall

An inmate used a plastic knife, fork and spoon to cut a large hole in the ceiling of his jail cell, but had no prospect of actually scraping his way to freedom because of cinder-block walls, Victoria provincial court heard Friday.

Jason Kilbach, an inmate at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, was sentenced to a further 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to break out of jail on May 29, 2016.

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Crown prosecutor Jess Patterson told the court that Kilbach had been in segregation at the jail for a couple of weeks. On May 28, he was moved to a cell and during the night, managed to cut a hole in the ceiling of the cell using plastic cutlery.

The hole was discovered by a correctional officer who came into Kilbach’s cell to look for a broom. He saw that the covering from a cork board was on the ceiling, masking the hole. The officer also found a plastic garbage bag full of plaster and mesh.

The hole measured 36-by-79 centimetres, roughly one foot by three feet, and was large enough for a man to get through, said Patterson.

“One of the Saanich police officers tested it. They took photos from up above and it appeared Mr. Kilbach had been up above the ceiling because of damage to the duct work up there,” said Patterson.

“I expect Mr. Kilbach was quite disappointed to discover that the cinder-block walls in his cell extend above the ceiling. There was really no prospect of him successfully escaping from his cell with that construction and the lack of planning.”

Kilbach was in the midst of serving a five-year sentence when he tried to escape, said Patterson.

Although an offence of this type usually attracts a sentence in the range of four to six months, he asked Judge Robert Higinbotham to impose a consecutive 90-day sentence, given Kilbach’s lack of planning, the futility of his attempt and the fact that he has already been punished by the institution.

Criminal lawyer Babak Zargarian agreed with the imposition of a 90-day sentence. He outlined some of the difficulties faced by the 38-year-old Kilbach, including the death of his 12-year-old brother, his parents’ divorce and his mental-health issues.

“This was poorly thought out and [had] no chance of success,” said Zargarian.

“He’s entered a guilty plea and already spent 30 days in segregation.”

Higinbotham imposed the 90-day sentence, noting that Kilbach still has to serve two years in jail.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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