A Toronto police officer facing professional misconduct charges in connection with a domestic incident involving serial killer Bruce McArthur had his disciplinary case put over until Feb. 26.
McArthur was arrested in 2016 for assault for choking a man in the back of his van. The man escaped after a struggle, but police never laid any charges.
The arrest happened the year before the disappearances of McArthur’s final two victims, Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman.
Global News learned that 32 Division Det. Paul Gauthier was charged with neglect of duty and insubordination related to the incident.
Gauthier did not appear at the disciplinary hearing on Tuesday and was represented by his lawyer Lawrence Gridin.
He told the tribunal the case must go before an independent adjudicator rather than a police superintendent assigned by Chief Mark Saunders.
Gridin began to make submissions on the issue but was told it was too early in the process.
“I’m confident that the evidence in this case is going to ultimately show that the information gathered by Det. Gauthier contributed to the identification of Bruce McArthur as a serial killer, did not detract in any way from the Project Prism investigation,” Gridin said outside Toronto police headquarters on Tuesday.
Gridin said last week in a statement that the decision to release McArthur was made in consultation with Gauthier’s superior and “based on the information available at the time.”
“Det. Gauthier conducted a proper investigation and fully documented the arrest of McArthur so that the information was available to all other investigators,” Gridin wrote.
“McArthur’s monstrous nature was difficult to uncover because he led a life of extreme deception, not because of anything to do with the 2016 arrest. Det. Gauthier has great sympathy for the victims and the community.”
The force’s professional standards unit launched an internal investigation related to the McArthur case in March 2018, two months after the self-employed landscaper was first charged with murder.
The review was sparked when the detective leading the probe said he came across some “concerning” information while reviewing two previous investigations into five missing men.
McArthur pleaded guilty last week to eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of missing men with ties to Toronto’s Church-Wellesley Village, the historic home of the city’s LGBTQ communities.
VIDEO: Lead detective in Bruce McArthur investigation files complaint against fellow officer
— With a file from Catherine McDonald, Nick Westoll and The Canadian Press