THUNDER BAY - Adam Capay, who has spent the last four years in segregation at the Thunder Bay District Jail, has been moved to a different cell, but jail officials say the move is only temporary.
According to Michael Lundy, a correctional officer at the Thunder Bay District Jail and president of OPSEU 737, Capay was moved to a new cell due to construction on the segregation unit at the District Jail.
“There is construction going on there right now,” he said. “They are modernizing our segregation unit. They are adding a solid door and better observation for officers.”
Capay’s move to a new cell was mentioned by Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, David Orazietti, during question period at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.
“This individual has been moved from their cell,” Orazietti said. “They are no longer in that same cell, they are in a different location with appropriate lighting, access to a day room, spending time out of their cell for showers, phone calls, and access to TV.”
“My understanding after I’ve been speaking with officials is that the inmate is satisfied with the conditions they are presently in,” Orazietti added.
Lundy called the government’s comments at Queen’s Park a pretty good sell job.
“I know it’s a good sale story right now at Queen’s Park, but [Capay] moved because there is a construction project going on, that’s 100 per cent the reason why,” Lundy said.
Capay was charged in connection with the murder of 35-year-old Sherman Quisses during an altercation at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre in June, 2012 and is still awaiting trial.
Capay has been in segregation for more than four years, which includes a cell with plexiglass, 24-hour light, and no access to natural light.
Lundy said construction on the segregation unit at the District Jail should be completed in roughly six weeks.
“When the construction project is done, [Capay] moves back to segregation I anticipate,” Lundy said. “That’s a management decision, but that is where I would anticipate he would end up.”
The conditions will be much the same for Capay, with no natural light and 24-hour light. Lundy added that Capay could even have less contact in the new units due to the addition of solid doors.
According to Lundy, the construction to the segregation unit was necessary from a health and safety standpoint.
“We advocated for it,” he said. “Local management has engaged us every step of the way. As far as health and safety reasons we definitely advocated for what they are doing.”
Capay’s case sparked further debate in Queen’s Park around the length of time he has spent in segregation awaiting trial.
On Wednesday, NDP MPP for Oshawa, Jennifer French, questioned the government about Capay’s situation. French pointed out that the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a delay longer than 30 months to face trial is a violation of an individual’s charter rights, and Capay has been held for 52 months.
“Can the premier guarantee that there are no more Adam Capay’s that have been lost in our jails?” French asked. “Can she guarantee that there are no more Adam Capays?”
Attorney General, Yasir Naqvi, responded by saying that Capay’s case is a serious and challenging matter.
“We recognize that people have questions and concerns and our government takes the concerns being raised very seriously and of course obligations that are enshrined within the charter of rights and freedoms very seriously as well,” Naqvi said. “I can share with you that, as you all know, Mr. Capay is facing some very serious charges. As the Attorney General, it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not influence the outcome of any prosecution that is ongoing.”
Naqvi was further questioned by Progressive Conservative MPP for Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Randy Hillier, who said 43 per cent of people facing criminal charges are kept in custody only to have their charges stayed or withdrawn.
“Is Adam Capay going to be another one of those statistics that the Attorney General speaks about in next year’s access to justice and that he still languishes there without a trial?” Hillier asked. “The Attorney General says he faces serious charges, I would say the Attorney General faces serious charges. Over four years of keeping someone incarcerated without the right to a trial. That is a serious charge and shouldn’t be taken lightly.”
“Access to justice an important and fundamental tenant,” Naqvi responded. “It’s an issue that all jurisdictions in Canada are discussing and grappling with.”