In what appears to be a strange loophole, a former Oshawa city councillor is allowed to run for re-election despite awaiting trial in jail for charges of kidnapping.
Robert Lutczyk was charged with kidnapping city solicitor David Potts in 2012, and remains eligible to run if he submits the proper paperwork, the city's manager of records information systems told Durham Region News.
Lutczyk tried use an agent to file his nomination papers on Aug. 20, according to Jason McWilliam, but did not provide proof that the agent was acting on his behalf. He also did not include voter identification, which is necessary to figure out whether candidates are on the voters' list.
While Ontario's Municipal Elections Act prohibits candidates who are serving a prison sentence from running, as they can't vote, municipal law expert George Rust-D'Eye told Durham Region News he does not think that includes those that are in custody in jail before a trial.
The former councillor is awaiting trial at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, CBC reports. Lutczyk has been held there since October 2012, when he allegedly kidnapped city solicitor David Potts at gunpoint. The incident ended with a lengthy standoff between the suspect and police at an industrial building, in which he allegedly had explosives, according to the Star.
If Lutczyk was elected, it's unknown whether he'd be able to hold onto his seat if he was convicted. He could also be turfed if he couldn't be present to swear an oath of office by a particular date, municipal lawyer John Mascarin told the Star, or if he was absent from three months worth of council meetings without council's authorization.
In addition to kidnapping, he faces 16 other charges, including forcible confinement, failing to stop for police, pointing a firearm and intending to cause an explosion, according to the Oshawa Express. His trial has been adjourned until Aug. 28.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story stated that the Municipal Elections Act prohibits those serving a jail sentence from running for elected office. It has been changed to say prison instead of jail. The Huffington Post regrets the error.
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