Jail guards to stand trial for alleged role in death of Ontario inmate

Ontario’s top court has ordered two guards at a London, Ont., jail to stand trial for their alleged role in an inmate’s death.

Corrections officers Leslie Lonsbary and Stephen Jurkus were charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life after 29-year-old Adam Kargus was beaten to death by his cellmate at the Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre in October 2013.

A lower court stayed the charges against the two officers in February 2017, ruling that the case against them had eclipsed the 30-month time limit for trials set out by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Crown prosecutors appealed that decision, arguing that the judge made errors in her analysis of the time frame rules, which allow certain types of delays to occur without counting toward the 30-month limit.

In a decision released today, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Crown, finding there was “no unreasonable delay” in the guards’ case and ordering a trial to proceed.

Former Elgin Middlesex inmate Anthony George pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison last year for beating Kargus to death in a jailhouse shower stall.

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