Accused drunk driver isolated in Toronto jail with suspected COVID-19

Handcuffs (The Canadian Press)

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A suspected drunk driver and presumptive COVID-19 case is now in isolation at Toronto East Detention Centre.

Srinivasakurukkal Ananthan, 48, didn’t even appear by video at Scarborough Court of Justice on Friday morning as Justice of the Peace Keon Lee adjourned the case for two weeks to enable the suspect to be quarantined.

Ananthan faces driving with over 80 mg of alcohol in his system and driving while under suspension charges after he was arrested Thursday night. It’s likely he would have been released on bail, barring his COVID-19 condition.

Convicted murderer Kalen Schlatter, 23, was moved from to Toronto East Detention Centre last weekend after an inmate at Toronto South Detention Centre tested positive for the coronavirus. He is considered Ontario’s first confirmed inmate case in the province’s jails.

Schlatter’s jury was deliberating last weekend and Justice John McMahon arranged for the prisoner to be transferred to shield him from possible infection and prevent a mistrial. The jury found Schlatter guilty of first-degree murder on Monday and he’s now serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Late last week, a correctional officer at Toronto South was placed in hospital after testing positive as well. He appears to be recovering, sources told the Sun.


Both the Criminal Lawyers Association and Ontario Crown Attorneys’ Association were lobbying for the measures, which were declared Friday by Ontario Chief Justice of lower courts, to prevent  inmates from being brought to court to staunch the spread of the contagious virus.

Starting Friday, no inmates will be brought to Ontario Court of Justice courtrooms and they will appear by video. Courtrooms will be limited to judges or justice of the peaces, clerks and essential courtroom staff.

Crown and defence will try to communicate via phone or teleconferencing instead of attending in person as soon as possible.