Judge leading review of missing persons cases wants to examine McArthur prosecution
The independent review into how Toronto police handle missing persons cases is due in April 2020
The judge leading the independent review into how Toronto police handle missing persons cases now wants to examine the prosecution of Bruce McArthur as part of her investigation.
Gloria Epstein, who is retiring from the Ontario Court of Appeal, was appointed in June 2018 by the city to examine what Toronto Mayor John Tory called "troubling questions" in the wake of McArthur's killings.
- Crown reveals McArthur 'staged' some of his victims after serial killer pleads guilty to 8 murders
- Why did Bruce McArthur plead guilty? Police hint answers are coming
The former landscaper pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for a string of killings that largely targeted men connected to Toronto's Gay Village between 2010 and 2017.
"This will make it easier for us to do the job that we've been tasked to do," said Mark Sandler, a criminal lawyer and counsel to the review. "We could look at the full range of systemic issues pertaining to these missing persons investigations."
The report is due in April 2020.
- New completion date for independent review into Toronto police's handling of cases for missing persons
The request, which is being made to the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), would remove a previous restriction on investigating anything that took place after McArthur was identified as a person of interest by police.
That condition was originally put in place in order to not prejudice the prosecution and McArthur's possible trial. McArthur's guilty plea on Tuesday negated those concerns, Sandler said.
"There should no longer be the same concerns about prejudicing the criminal proceedings," he explained.
In a statement provided to CBC Toronto, the TPSB agreed with Sandler, and said it would consider broadening the scope of the review.
"The board is already in the process of considering what options are now available to more broadly examine the important issues related to missing persons investigations," the statement reads.
The board did not indicate whether or not it would accept Epstein's request, however, a spokesperson said it's doing everything in its power to facilitate a thorough review.
"As the Board has indicated through the establishment of this review, it is, and remains, committed to ensuring that an independent, comprehensive and transparent review is conducted into these significant issues affecting the public in general, and, in particular, our LGBTQ2S+, immigrant, homeless and other marginalized communities," the statement said.
With files from Linda Ward