Canadian prisoner, too fat for cell, released early

Wed Nov 12, 2008 2:13pm EST
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian prison authorities were forced to release a 450-pound (205 kg) drug gang member this week because he was too large for his cell, the Journal de Montreal newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Michel Lapointe -- known as Big Mike -- was arrested in September 2006 and received a five-year sentence in May this year. The paper said he could not fit on the chair in his Montreal prison cell and when he went to bed, his body protruded six inches on either side.

A letter from the authorities to Lapointe said: "You have been detained for more than 25 months and your prison conditions are difficult because of your health".

The authorities also cited the refusal of two other facilities to accept the 37-year-old. He was freed late on Tuesday.

"I'm going to have a proper bed and finally have a chair I can sit in," he told the paper outside the prison.

"I want a normal life. I've done some stupid things and I've paid for them," he said.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Frank McGurty)