By Nahnda Garlow with CP Files
THUNDER BAY— An Ontario judge has ordered a stay of proceedings in the case of an inmate whose four-year stint in segregation sparked a public debate on the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities.
A publication ban prevents the disclosure of all evidence and submissions made in Adam Capay’s case until late February, when the appeal period will end.
Capay was held in segregation at a Thunder Bay jail for 52 months while awaiting trial in the 2012 death of another inmate, Sherman Quisses. He was in a Plexiglas cell with the lights on 24 hours a day.
His case came to light in 2016 after a guard tipped off Ontario’s human rights commissioner when she was visiting the 90-year-old Thunder Bay facility.
He was moved to a standard cell shortly afterwards but was still kept separate from the general population.
Neskantaga First Nation Chief Wayne Moonias issued a statement following the courts decision that Capay will not stand trial in Quisses’ death.
“Neskantaga community and the Quisses family have fought for justice for Sherman since his murder in 2012 and we are very disappointed that this murder trial will not proceed. Sherman’s murder has devastated his family and severely affected our community. Members of the Quisses family are still struggling to deal with their loss and are experiencing ongoing emotional distress. This decision revictimizes the family. We strongly opposed the granting of a stay in this case, and we are struggling to understand how there can be no justice for Sherman. We appreciate the support we have received during this lengthy legal process and Neskantaga will continue to support the Quisses family during this difficult time.”
According to the First Nation, Sherman Quisses was 34 years old at the time of his death and father to one child — the second oldest of six siblings. When he was murdered in 2012, he predeceased his mother, Edna Moonias who passed away in 2014, and his grandmother, Sarah Quisses, who passed away in 2016.
Capay’s case prompted the provincial government to order a review of the use of segregation in jails. It also announced a 15-consecutive-day limit on inmates being held in disciplinary segregation, down from 30.
The review, released in 2017, called for an end to indefinite segregation of inmates in the province’s jails, but stopped short of urging an outright ban on the practice.
The province’s ombudsman has also urged the government to end indefinite segregation and said no inmate should be kept in isolation for more than 60 days in a year.