News

Murder suspect also headed to trial for attempted jail break

One of the men allegedly behind an attempted prison break from Wilkinson Road jail one year ago is scheduled to go to trial for the incident in March 2013.

In mid-July 2011, Saanich police said two prisoners were involved in digging a large hole in the ceiling of a cell at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, a maximum security prison and remand centre on Wilkinson Road.

The hole was apparently big enough for somebody to fit through, but it remains unclear if either man ever illicitly exited the cell.

"The circumstances are dramatic and very movie-like," Saanich police Sgt. Dean Jantzen told the News at the time, which was the first to report on the incident. Saanich police investigated the attempted jail break and Jantzen stressed that the incident posed no risk to public safety.

Andrew Jonathon Belcourt, 22, is charged with breaking out of prison cell with intent to escape on July 12, 2011. He appeared in B.C. Supreme Court this week in Victoria, and a trial date was fixed for March 11, 2013. The same charge was dropped against co-accused Max Higley.

The only publicly known escape from Wilkinson Road jail was in 1986 by Robert Moyes, a violent career criminal later convicted of murdering seven people.

Belcourt remains in custody and is also headed to B.C. Supreme Court on Sept. 17 for a pretrial hearing for the murder of Leslie Ronald Hankel in Fernwood on March 3, 2010. Samuel Gregory McGrath is also charged with murder for that crime.

--with files from Kyle Slavin

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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