Monday, December 6, 2021

Disgraced former Toronto Homicide Detective Paul Worden: Subject of Staff Reporter Wendy Gillis' fascinating Toronto Star story, "Stolen trust. Lost cases: How a Toronto cop stole from his force, fed an addiction and wasn’t charged." Reporter Gillis notes that: "Several recent cases of officers charged for stealing narcotics have involved Ontario cops who specialized in drug investigations, an irony not lost on judges. The thefts have presented a distinct challenge for the courts: balancing the officers’ circumstances with condemnation of a serious crime." Her story provides valuable insights into how Worden carried out his crimes particularly valuable because of the insights it gives us into how Worden carried out his many crimes - and avoided detection for so long. As this is a very lengthy article I have provided a small portion at the link below. The whole article is well worth the read. (HL);

STORY: "Stolen trust. Lost cases: How a Toronto cop stole from his force, fed an addiction and wasn't charged," by Staff Reporter Wendy Gillis,  published by The Toronto Star on December 4, 2021.

GIST: "One day, Worden told the detectives, he logged into a Toronto police network that catalogues seized property held force-wide, giving those with access a snapshot of what’s being held in stations across the city. Clicking around, Worden said he noticed he could see the description of property — including if an evidence bag contained drugs, and sometimes specific details about what kind. He could also see when any item was marked for destruction, meaning it was no longer needed for a case, and would soon be picked up by a courier from the station. 

He realized he could show up, enter the locker and take the drugs before the courier showed up. He told the detectives he thought it wouldn’t be noticed, and “wouldn’t harm anybody.” He stressed he was acting entirely alone.

Homicide investigators often move in and out of police divisions. They go wherever murders happen, setting up temporary operations centres inside the local station in the division where the killing occurred, and many have an access card to property lockers. “If I knew where (the evidence locker) was, I would just walk to it,” Worden said. “And if I didn’t, I’d... show my badge. ‘Det. Worden. Can you tell me where your property locker room is?’ And they told me.”

Once he’d taken the narcotics, Worden explained, he would strike them off the property report that listed what the courier was picking up, so that they’d assume there’d been a last-minute change. 

“The courier would just think, ‘Oh, they must not have put that in,’ and they would just take the other stuff,” Worden said. 

But Worden hadn’t solely been taking drugs set to be destroyed. Occasionally, when he couldn’t find what he needed, he said he would remove them from active cases. Worden said he tried to find ones where “in the overall aspect of the case, (the drugs) were minor.”

He’d also admitted to taking evidence from two active homicide cases, dating his thefts back to a 2009 homicide. Worden told investigators he’d swiped “less than five pills” soon after the murder of Gerald Brown. The Yorkville dentist was killed by a younger man who he’d been supplying opioids to in exchange for sexual favours, according to the transcript. There had been a lot of pills at the scene, Worden said, and “we had lots of other evidence.” Worden also later admitted to taking three or four Percocet pills connected to a 2018 homicide he’d investigated.

“In this process,” Latter asked, “did you ever consider that it may affect the cases that are ongoing?”

“I considered it. That’s why I tried to be particular about the case,” Worden said. “I didn’t think they would be missed.”

Even as the frequency of his thefts rose through late 2020 and into the new year, Worden apparently eluded detection, though there had been a close call. In October 2020, Worden took nine oxycodone pills due to be destroyed at an east-end station, and the removal was somehow noticed by another officer. Seeing through the entry record that Worden had gone in there, the officer called to ask about the missing property. Worden said there’d been a “mix-up” and he’d bring back the drugs. He returned and replaced the stolen pills with nine of his own from a prescription.

Latter asked Worden if the incident scared him off.

“No. That’s what kind of gave me the confidence that this was a viable plan,” Worden replied. “I seemed to be getting away with it.”


The entire story can be read at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.