Toronto police board recommends expansion of independent investigator’s mandate to include Bruce McArthur case

The Toronto Police Services Board’s chair is recommending the independent civilian review into missing persons’ investigations be expanded to include the Bruce McArthur case.

Gloria Epstein, a former justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal, began her review last summer, but the McArthur investigation was excluded to preserve his right to a fair trial.

However, in January Epstein called for the board to expand her mandate to include the McArthur case in light of his guilty plea to eight counts of first-degree murder.

In a March 14 letter, board chair Andy Pringle cited the expiry of the appeal period as well as McArthur’s plea in recommending the board lift the restrictions to including the McArthur case.

“I know that there are many in our community who are closely watching this important work, and awaiting any recommendations that arise,” Pringle wrote in his letter to the board.

“With the concerns about Mr. McArthur’s criminal proceeding no longer applicable, it is time to expand the review’s mandate so that it can independently assess and make recommendations about the very cases that motivated its launch in the first place.”

Pringle also notes the province isn’t planning to launch a public inquiry.

Last month a spokesman for the provincial attorney general says the ministry hopes that an independent investigation already underway into how police handle missing persons’ cases will address the McArthur probe.

Serial killer given life sentence

In February, just over a year after his arrest, McArthur, 67, was sentenced to life in prison for killing eight men between 2010 and 2017.

A judicial order, which was unsealed in February, showed that Toronto police knew McArthur “had a link” to three of the eight men he pleaded guilty to murdering after interviewing the serial killer in late 2013.

Police had questioned McArthur after launching an investigation dubbed Project Houston, which was launched to probe the disappearances of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan, all of whom were connected to Toronto’s Gay Village.

But Project Houston was shut down in April 2014 because investigators said they couldn’t find any criminal evidence connected to the missing men.

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