Charges dropped against HMP guard charged in death of Jonathan Henoche

·2 min read
A charge against Stefan Cumby was dropped Tuesday. He was among the 10 Her Majesty's Penitentiary correctional officers arrested in connection with the death of Jonathan Henoche. (CBC - image credit)
A charge against Stefan Cumby was dropped Tuesday. He was among the 10 Her Majesty's Penitentiary correctional officers arrested in connection with the death of Jonathan Henoche. (CBC - image credit)

Charges have been dropped against one of the prison guards arrested in the 2019 death of inmate Jonathan Henoche at Her Majesty's Penitentiary.

The Crown attorney's office withdrew charges of negligence causing death against correctional officer Stefan Cumby on Tuesday morning, according to Cumby's lawyer Robby Ash.

"The Crown finally made a decision that there was no longer any reasonable likelihood of conviction with respect to Mr. Cumby, and so it withdrew the charge against him," Ash said.

"It's been our position from very early on, when we received the disclosure on this file, that a charge should never have been laid against Mr. Cumby."

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Henoche, 33, was awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges when he died in the St. John's penitentiary on Nov. 6, 2019. He was accused in the 2016 death of respected Labrador community leader Regula Schule.

His death was ruled a homicide a month later, and Cumby was among the 10 prison guards arrested and charged in connection with his death in December 2020.

A two-week inquiry began on Aug. 16 for the guards facing the charges.

Ash said he isn't able to comment on the court proceedings and there is a publication ban that prevents reporting on evidence in the case, but he said Cumby is relieved and they've reached the outcome that they expected.

"To have something like a serious charge like criminal negligence causing death hanging over your head when you're in the position of working in an institution as a correctional officer, it certainly is something that is very concerning and it's nice to have it behind him."

The full story will hopefully come out at some point. - Robby Ash

Court proceedings are continuing for the other correctional officers, Ash said, with each being represented by a different lawyer. But he's hopeful more information will come out out Henoche's death.

"My client looks forward to, at some point, the public having the full story told about what happened here with Mr. Henoche and why the officers ended up before the court in the manner that they did," he said.

"The full story will hopefully come out at some point."

Cumby remains suspended with pay from his position at the prison, something Ash said he intends to address in the future.

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