Charge dropped against N.L. correctional officer in Inuk inmate’s death

Preliminary inquiry will determine if enough evidence against nine other officers.

A preliminary inquiry is underway to test the evidence against a number of correctional officers in the 2019 death of a male inmate.

Charges have been dropped against a Newfoundland and Labrador correctional officer in the killing of an Inuk inmate in St. John’s.

Stefan Cumby was one of 10 correctional officers charged in connection with the death of 33-year-old Jonathan Henoche at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary jail in 2019.

Cumby and six other officers were charged with criminal negligence causing death, two officers were charged with manslaughter, and one officer was charged with manslaughter and failure to provide necessities of life.

Cumby’s lawyer, Robby Ash, says the charge against his client was dropped this week during an ongoing preliminary inquiry at the province’s Supreme Court, which will determine if there is enough evidence to bring the case to trial against the nine other officers.

Ash says there is a publication ban on the inquiry’s proceedings, but the Crown prosecution team has stated on the record they did not believe there was a reasonable likelihood of Cumby being convicted.

Ash says his client is relieved by the decision but not surprised, as Cumby strongly believed he should never have been charged in the case.

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