A Toronto police officer is expected to face two charges of professional misconduct in connection with the Bruce McArthur case, but the issue was put over to the end of the month after questions from his lawyer about who will preside over the proceedings.
Sgt. Paul Gauthier did not appear at a tribunal Tuesday morning, and so was not formally charged with insubordination and neglect of duty under the Police Services Act, as was expected.
The allegations are not criminal in nature and have not been tested in court.
During the brief proceedings at Toronto police headquarters, Gauthier’s lawyer, Lawrence Gridin, asked for an independent adjudicator — specifically, a judge — to be put on this case, rather than a police superintendent.
Gauthier’s case was put over to Feb. 26.
One week ago, McArthur, 67, pleaded guilty to killing eight men, many of whom had ties to Toronto’s Gay Village, between 2010 and 2017. A sentencing hearing is currently underway in Toronto at which emotional victim impact statements are being delivered.
The professional misconduct allegations against Gauthier stem from an interaction between McArthur and police after a man told police in June 2016 that McArthur had tried to strangle him. Police questioned and released McArthur — a move that later prompted the Toronto Police professional standards unit to launch an internal investigation into the matter.
More details about the allegations are expected when Gauthier is charged.
In a statement last Friday, Gridin told CBC News: “The decision not to charge Bruce McArthur for the 2016 incident was made in conjunction with Det. Gauthier’s supervisor and based on the information available at the time.”
At least three of McArthur’s victims are believed to have been killed after 2016. The eight men he killed were: Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, Abdulbasir Faizi, 44, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58.
The statement from his lawyer went on to say Gauthier conducted a “proper” investigation of McArthur, and made the information available to all other investigators involved.
“McArthur’s monstrous nature was difficult to uncover because he led a life of extreme deception,” the statement said. “Det. Gauthier has great sympathy for the victims and the community.”
How the Toronto Police Service has handled missing-persons cases is now the subject of an independent review led by former Ontario Court of Appeal judge Gloria Epstein.
Outside headquarters Tuesday, Gridin spoke briefly to reporters, saying: “I’m confident that the evidence will show in this case that the work done by Det. Gauthier contributed to the identification of Bruce McArthur as a serial killer, did not detract from Project Prism.
“I’m also very mindful that today, about a kilometre away from where we’re standing, people are giving their victim impact statements — and those voices should be heard today, not mine.”