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Judge approves second psychiatric evaluation for segregated inmate Adam Capay

Adam Capay, who is charged with first-degree murder, has spent more than four years in solitary confinement awaiting trial.

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The 24-year-old indigenous inmate whose plight in solitary confinement has come to personify myriad problems afflicting Ontario's criminal justice system is headed for his second psychiatric evaluation in as many years.

On Tuesday, Thunder Bay Superior Court Justice Danial Newton agreed to a request from Adam Capay's lawyers for an in-patient psychiatric assessment. All further details from the proceeding, including the reasons for the assessment, are covered by a publication ban.

Mr. Capay went through a similar assessment a year ago that determined he was fit to stand trial.

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Since then, his circumstances have changed dramatically.

Last month, Ontario's human rights commissioner met Mr. Capay during a tour of Thunder Bay Jail. He told her of speech and memory problems stemming from his prolonged spell in solitary confinement ‒ more than four years and counting ‒ much of it in a cell lined with acrylic glass and illuminated by constant artificial light.

Revelations in The Globe and Mail about Mr. Capay's predicament prompted widespread public backlash and calls to release him from solitary confinement. The provincial government has since moved him to a new cell.

Last week, Correctional Services Minister David Orazietti told The Globe he has asked the Premier for new infrastructure spending in Thunder Bay and dispatched a 25-member team to examine conditions in solitary cells across the province.

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Mr. Capay is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing a fellow inmate in 2012. Over the course of his 1,640 days in pretrial custody, he has gone through several lawyers and three trial dates have been adjourned.

He now has a four-person legal team consisting of Tony Bryant, Marlys Edwardh, Adriel Weaver and Karen Symes working on "all aspects of his case," according to a written statement from the lawyers.

"We are well aware of the circumstances of Mr. Capay's past and present conditions of confinement," the statement reads. "Those issues are being addressed."

Current and former employees at the jail have told The Globe that Mr. Capay is considered too dangerous to place among other inmates in the general population unit, giving them few confinement options aside from segregation within Thunder Bay's overcrowded confines.

His next scheduled appearance is on Jan. 30.

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