The disciplinary case against Paul Gauthier, a detective who is accused of failing to follow procedure while he investigated Bruce McArthur, who was later identified as a serial killer, has been postponed for medical reasons.
Details about the health of Sergeant Gauthier of the Toronto Police Service were discussed behind closed doors at a disciplinary tribunal Tuesday.
Before the proceedings moved in-camera, prosecutor Alexandra Ciobotaru said she had been advised late Friday that Sgt. Gauthier wouldn’t be present because of his condition.
Ms. Ciobotaru later tabled jurisprudence arguing that officers facing disciplinary charges have to supply specific reasons if they want be accommodated for health reasons.
She filed as an exhibit a 2013 decision against a Thunder Bay, Ont., officer who tried unsuccessfully to argue that he couldn’t appear because of an unspecified long-term disability and stressing factors. Following the officer’s unwillingness to provide more details, the proceedings went ahead in his absence.
Sgt. Gauthier’s case was adjourned to April 2.
The 20-year veteran officer is before the disciplinary tribunal in connection with a 2016 incident in which a man went to police to report that Mr. McArthur tried to strangle him during a sexual encounter in a van.
Mr. McArthur was arrested but not charged after he convinced police that it was consensual rough sex.
He was arrested again in 2018 and eventually pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of eight men with ties to Toronto’s Gay Village. Two of the murders took place after the 2016 incident.
Mr. McArthur was also interviewed by Toronto police in 2013 after three gay men had disappeared. The three missing men are among his eight victims.
While no details about Sgt. Gauthier’s health were disclosed Tuesday, he previously alluded in a letter sent to other officers that he has been distressed because he felt he was being scapegoated for the force’s failure to stop the serial killer earlier.
"The past year has taken a tremendous toll on me both personally and professionally. There have been many sleepless nights thinking about McArthur’s unspeakable crimes, his victims and their families, and the fact that my employer has effectively set me up to be their fall guy for all this,” he said in the letter, leaked to several media outlets.
Sgt. Gauthier is not charged with failing to lay criminal accusations against Mr. McArthur. He is charged with insubordination and neglect of duty because he didn’t follow Toronto police procedures.
He is alleged to have taken the complainant’s statement in writing only but not on video. It is also alleged that he didn’t have photos of the complainant’s injuries taken.
At an earlier hearing, Sgt Gauthier’s lawyer, Lawrence Gridin, had challenged the impartiality of the tribunal, saying that an independent judge should handle the case rather than the adjudicating officer, Superintendent Richard Hegedus.