Son of Toronto cop used confidential information from father to commit murder, documents allege

November 18, 2021
Son of Toronto cop used confidential information from father to commit murder, documents allege

A Toronto police officer allegedly gave confidential information to his son, who is accused of using it to help commit a murder and home invasion, according to records obtained by CBC News.

The allegations are found in Toronto Police Service disciplinary tribunal documents that outline charges against Det.-Const. Trevor Gregory under the Police Services Act.

Gregory was charged with breach of trust following the killing last year of Bill Horace, a former Liberian rebel leader and accused war criminal. Horace was shot during a home invasion in London, Ont., in June 2020.

Keiron Gregory, the officer’s 23-year-old son, has since been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting. His preliminary hearing is set to begin in March of next year, according to the province.

The tribunal records reveal new information about the events leading up to Horace’s homicide.   

According to tribunal records, Trevor Gregory was off duty early on June 20, 2020, when his son called him to say “that he had been defrauded out of a large sum of money.” The officer’s son shared the alleged fraudster’s licence plate number in a message sent after the two spoke. 

The officer then contacted police colleagues, asking if they could run the licence plate in police databases, falsely claiming there was a “strange car creeping through my ‘hood,” according to the documents.  

That same day a colleague provided Gregory with the results of a database search, including the vehicle owner’s home address, the documents allege.

The officer arranged a meeting with his son, and police later learned that the younger Gregory had photographed a piece of paper containing the suspected fraudster’s information, the records say.

Horace was shot to death in London the next day. 

Officer could face dismissal

“Your disclosure of confidential information to your son contributed to the death of the victim B.H.,” the documents allege. 

The untested allegations in the police documents align with a 2020 story in the Globe and Mail, which reported that Horace’s killing was linked to a scam involving money.

Trevor Gregory’s defence lawyer, David Butt, said his client has pleaded not guilty to the breach of trust charge. He expects Gregory will stand trial next year. The Police Service Act charges are on hold while the criminal matter proceeds. 

“People just naturally want to draw conclusions from partial information, and that’s fundamentally unfair,” Butt said. 

A London Police Service investigator took a statement from Trevor Gregory on June 25, 2020, according to tribunal documents. 

They allege Gregory told a “fabricated” story about a vehicle passing his home on June 20, but say he eventually admitted he received the licence plate number from his son. 

Neighbours said Horace was found sprawled in front of this house when first responders arrived. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Ian Johnstone, a lawyer who prosecutes police disciplinary cases, says any officer’s history of checking licence plates is “easily tracked” by police services.

A database search would reveal private personal information to an officer, Johnstone told CBC News. 

“They would absolutely get the [vehicle] owner and the address,” he said.

Gregory could face penalties, including dismissal at the Toronto police tribunal, even if he is not convicted of a criminal offence.

“You could see anything from a termination of an officer to a demotion or a … loss of pay,” Johnstone said. 

Gregory is suspended with pay, according to a Toronto police spokesperson.

Alleged war criminal avoided prosecution 

Horace’s killing prompted a new wave of questions about how the accused war criminal, alleged to have committed atrocities during Liberia’s civil war, was able to live freely in Canada. 

At the time of his death, Horace had managed to avoid prosecution, even though federal officials were well aware of his alleged crimes.

Horace was the subject of a 2010 Maclean’s magazine exposé, which detailed his time as a general in the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. Sources told a magazine researcher that Horace’s troops “beat, raped and murdered civilians.”

Four neighbours identified this photograph as Bill Horace, 44, of Toronto. The photograph was published in Front Page Africa, a daily newspaper based in Monrovia, Liberia, linking Horace to war crimes in a bloody civil conflict that raged from 1989 to 1996. (Front Page Africa)

CBC News obtained emails from a federal initiative called the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program through an access to information request. 

The program is intended to “deny safe haven” to suspected war criminals, and lists prosecutions among its “avenues to seek accountability.”

The emails contain discussions among Department of Justice staffers after Horace’s murder, and provide further confirmation Horace would never have faced prosecution in Canada. 

“In the Horace situation, it was decided by the WC group to not pursue a criminal investigation,” RCMP Supt. Mike MacLean wrote in a July 3, 2020, email. “As such it became a civil matter.”

‘Until my last day’

Matt Eisenbrandt, the one-time legal director of the defunct Canadian Centre for International Justice, said he and others gathered information on Horace, and gave it to the federal government for use in a criminal prosecution.

Eisenbrandt told CBC News he refused to assist when the government instead asked for help in a deportation effort, which he thought would allow Horace to avoid criminal accountability.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said “the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program does not comment on files or confirm the existence of investigations until matters become public during legal proceedings.”

Hassan Bility, executive director for the Global Justice and Research Project based in Liberia, who worked with Eisenbrandt, was disappointed the alleged war criminal avoided accountability.

“That surprise — that disappointment — I believe will stay with me until my last day,” Bility said.

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