Windsor

Charges stayed against London, Ont. jail workers because of trial delays

Earlier this month, a Superior court judge was asked by lawyers of 55-year-old Stephen Jurkus and 50-year-old Leslie Lonsbary to dismiss the charges against them because too much time has passed since they were charged. On Monday the judge agreed.

First time new Supreme Court time limits for bringing a case to trial have been cited in London, Ont.

The Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. (Kerry McKee/CBC)

Two employees from a London, Ont. jail no longer face charges in connection to the death of an inmate after a judge, on Monday, decided the court process has taken too long.

The decision to stay the charges against the two Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre workers marks the first time new Supreme Court time limits for bringing a case to trial have been cited in the London area.

Stephen Jurkus, 55, and Leslie Lonsbary, 50, were each charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to inmate Adam Kargus. The 29-year-old Sarnia resident was found beaten to death in a shower stall at the jail Oct. 31, 2013. 

Lawyers for Jurkus and Lonsbary asked the Superior Court judge earlier this month to dismiss the charges because too much time has passed since they were charged.

They argued the charges had lingered for nearly three years without a resolution. On Monday, Justice Alissa Mitchell ruled in favour of the lawyers' arguments and stayed the charges.

Criminal defence lawyer Ron Ellis. (Courtesy of Ron Ellis)

Lonsbary's lawyer, Ron Ellis, said his client has mixed feelings about the ruling — he's pleased that there's no prospect for conviction, but does have some misgivings.

"He's disappointed he doesn't get a chance to put his evidence before the court and clear his good name," Ellis said.

Ellis said the trial would have shed some light on the many problems at the London jail because he was prepared to call six high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Corrections to testify.

But, he added, a public inquiry — if one was called — could achieve the same result.

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