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Shoniker's bail conditions set Add to ...

A prominent Toronto defence lawyer charged with money-laundering has been forbidden from contacting four people -- including a well-known Crown attorney -- as part of his bail agreement.

The information is contained in bail-recognizance documents for Peter Alfred Shoniker, 49, who made a brief appearance at the Old City Hall courts on Monday and was released on a $75,000 surety and three conditions.

Mr. Shoniker "has the utmost confidence in the judicial process and looks forward to his opportunity" to present a vigorous defence to the charges, his lawyer, David Humphrey, said in a statement released yesterday.

Documents viewed by The Globe and Mail yesterday reveal that Mr. Shoniker is "not to associate or communicate, directly or indirectly" with Calvin Barry, a prosecutor with the downtown Crown's office; Johnathan Vrozos, a fixture on the city bar scene; and Nahum Eizicovics, a local jeweller.

Neither is Mr. Shoniker allowed any contact with his co-accused in the alleged money-laundering scheme, Babek (Bobby) Adeli Tabrizi.

Such no-contact provisions are standard among co-accuseds, and commonly are used to protect potential witnesses, victims and complainants in court proceedings.

Mr. Shoniker and Mr. Tabrizi are jointly charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in a series of four money-moving transactions in which they allegedly transferred to a New York City bank a total of $750,000 in Canadian currency, which they allegedly knew was the proceeds of crime.

According to information sworn by an RCMP sergeant on June 11, in addition the money-laundering charges jointly faced by the two, Mr. Shoniker is charged with stealing $62,200 from an RCMP corporal, presumably an undercover operative.

In a telephone interview late yesterday, Mr. Barry told The Globe and Mail he had only just learned that he was named in the court documents. "I probably can't comment on that right now. I'd rather just defer that . . . it's just that he [Mr. Shoniker]knew everybody. I know him socially and from when he was a Crown."

Mr. Barry told The Globe he "can't see" that he will become a focus of the RCMP investigation but said the Mounties "might want to interview me at some time."

He said he knows Mr. Vrozos, whom he described as "owning some bars and restaurants."

As a result of being named in Mr. Shoniker's bail conditions, Mr. Barry today will stop prosecuting cases in court, his boss, senior Toronto Crown attorney Paul Culver told The Globe last night, and instead will work within the office.

"We're probably being overcautious," Mr. Culver said, describing the move as born in "an abundance of caution."

Mr. Barry and Mr. Vrozos were pictured together in a Jan. 5, 2003, photograph in the Toronto Sun last year at a fundraiser for a charity called the Second Chance Scholarship Fund. In an accompanying caption, Mr. Vrozos was described as the owner of the historic Palais Royal dance hall, a Toronto waterfront landmark.

In addition to his work as a prosecutor, Mr. Barry is well known in police and legal circles as a party-organizer extraordinaire, with the proceeds of the functions usually going to charity.

In what is perhaps a related development, the Toronto Sun said yesterday that new documentation filed in a North York court refers to four bar owners who allegedly became involved in a police protection scandal that hit the news last month; four officers face a sheaf of criminal charges relating to alleged kickbacks in the downtown entertainment district. The bar owners are identified only by their initials; one of them is JV.

Among those facing criminal charges in connection with that alleged kickback scheme is Billy McCormack, Jr., the eldest son of former Toronto police chief Bill McCormack, and Rick McIntosh, the former president of the Toronto Police Association.

On the night that Billy McCormack was suspended with pay, the 52 Division plainclothes office was disbanded, with 12 officers and two supervisors abruptly reassigned.

The links among Mr. Shoniker, Mr. Barry and Mr. Vrozos appear to suggest that despite remarks made this week by RCMP Chief Superintendent Ben Soave -- who said that the charges against Mr. Shoniker and Mr. Tabrizi should be regarded as separate and distinct from the earlier charges against the police officers -- there may be some connections.

Mr. Shoniker has well-established ties to area police forces. A onetime prosecutor who turned defence lawyer, he represented former York Regional Police chief Bryan Cousineau, who resigned and pleaded guilty to breach-of-trust charges in 1998. He was also the master of ceremonies for Chief McCormack's retirement dinner, and took a lead role in promoting Chief Julian Fantino to the No. 1 job.

Chief Fantino, in a brief scrum with reporters yesterday, refused to comment on the charges against Mr. Shoniker but said: "He has been a friend of mine, and I've known his father. I've known him professionally and also socially. Beyond that, that's it."

Mr. Shoniker is also a well-known Tory financial backer and a long-time insider within the provincial Progressive Conservative Party.

On the lawn of his two-storey home, modest by Rosedale standards, is a sign for the local Conservative candidate in the federal election.

A woman who came to the door of the house yesterday refused to comment on the charges. But neighbours, though reluctant to speak to reporters, said there were frequent police visitors to the home. A grey Lincoln Navigator sat in the driveway.

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