Toronto

Review of missing persons probes sparked by McArthur arrest has cost almost $1M, report says

A Toronto Police Services Board probe into the way investigators tackled missing persons investigations, including victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur, has already spent almost $1 million, just 10 months into its three-year mandate.

Almost a third of the city’s original budget for the review has already been used

The review was sparked by criticisms from the LGBTQ community over how Toronto Police handled missing persons cases, including the victims of Bruce McArthur. (Pam Davies/CBC)

A Toronto Police Services Board probe into the way investigators tackled missing persons investigations, including victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur, has already spent almost $1 million, just 10 months into its three-year mandate.

The independent review, led by the Hon. Gloria Epstein, is working with lawyers from Toronto law firm Cooper, Sandler, Shime & Bergman LLP. 

So far, the firm has billed the board $935,746.88 for work done between September 2018 and July 2019.

The review was ordered in March 2018 following the arrest of McArthur. It was started in response to concerns from some members of the LGBT community about how police handled investigations into the disappearances of men in or near Toronto's gay village, included the eight men McArthur was accused of killing.

Most of Bruce McArthur all had some known connection to Toronto's gay village. Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan. (John Fraser/CBC)

In January, McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole for 25 years.

Last year, the city budgeted $3 million for the review, which was scheduled to run from September 2018 to April 2020. 

In March, the police services board voted in favour of extending the review until 2021 to include details of the McArthur killings — details which were originally excluded from the review's scope because his case was still before the courts. 

With two and a half years to go in the review, and a third of the city's original budget spent,  it's unclear if enough money has been set aside to cover the inquiry's costs, or how much more might be needed.

CBC Toronto contacted the services board Thursday. No one was immediately available to discuss the expenses.

 

 

With files from Michael Smee

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