Hal­ton po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of steal­ing pills

For­mer head of drug unit also faces charge of or­der­ing an of­fi­cer to de­stroy drug ex­hibits

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - SU­SAN CLAIRMONT

MIL­TON — An of­fi­cer who was once head of the Hal­ton Re­gional Po­lice Drug and Moral­ity Unit and is now fac­ing crim­i­nal charges is ac­cused of steal­ing 89 pills from the ev­i­dence locker and or­der­ing an­other of­fi­cer to de­stroy drug ex­hibits.

The specifics of the al­le­ga­tions against sus­pended Staff Sgt. Brad Mur­ray are con­tained in court doc­u­ments. The al­le­ga­tions have put 30 cases con­nected to the com­pro­mised drug ev­i­dence in jeop­ardy.

His case was spo­ken to briefly in the Mil­ton court­house Tues­day and put over to Sept. 12.

Mur­ray, a 16-year vet­eran, was not in court. Nor was he in court for his pre­vi­ous court date in June. His lawyer, Joanne Mulc­ahy, has not re­turned The Spec­ta­tor’s calls.

Mur­ray, 38, was ar­rested May 28 by Toronto po­lice de­tec­tives brought in by Hal­ton’s Chief Steve Tan­ner to in­ves­ti­gate. Mur­ray was charged with two counts of theft un­der $5,000, two counts of breach of trust, and one count of ob­struct­ing jus­tice.

Doc­u­ments show that be­tween Aug. 27, 2015, and April 30, 2016, in Oakville, Mur­ray is ac­cused of steal­ing 44 drug tablets re­lat­ing to a Hal­ton po­lice case. That re­lates to one of the theft charges and leads to one of the breach of trust charges “in con­nec­tion with the du­ties of his of­fice by steal­ing and/ or tam­per­ing with seized ev­i­dence and/or ex­hibits.”

On April 13, 2016, Mur­ray al­legedly “did wil­fully at­tempt to ob­struct, per­vert or de­feat the course of jus­tice by or­der­ing an­other of­fi­cer to de­stroy drug ex­hibits” re­lated to a dif­fer­ent case, court doc­u­ments show. He al­legedly gave the or­der “prior to the con­clu­sion of the court pro­ceed­ings.”

On March 15, 2016, Mur­ray al­legedly stole 45 drug tablets that were ev­i­dence in an­other Hal­ton case. For that he faces the sec­ond set of theft and breach of trust charges.

Mur­ray, as head of the drug unit, had autho­riza­tion to ac­cess the locked stor­age area. The ev­i­dence was tam­pered with dur­ing his time lead­ing the unit.

Tan­ner has said the miss­ing drugs are highly ad­dic­tive opi­oids. He has also said po­lice do not be­lieve they have made their way back onto the streets. That sug­gests the al­le­ga­tion that Mur­ray was steal­ing them for his own use.

Canada is in the throes of a per­va­sive and deadly opi­oid ad­dic­tion cri­sis, with many be­com­ing hooked on the painkillers af­ter they are pre­scribed by doc­tors fol­low­ing events like back in­juries or knee surgery.

Mur­ray is cur­rently sus­pended with pay, the only op­tion avail­able by law to On­tario po­lice chiefs who want to take of­fi­cers off ac­tive duty while fac­ing charges.

Most of­ten, po­lice ser­vices al­low crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings to con­clude be­fore lay­ing Po­lice Ser­vices Act (PSA) charges against an of­fi­cer. It is pos­si­ble, how­ever, for a ser­vice to go ahead with PSA charges be­fore that, in an ef­fort to ex­pe­dite the process and the amount of time an of­fi­cer is sus­pended with pay. No PSA charges have been laid against Mur­ray.

At about the time Mur­ray was leav­ing the drug unit in May 2016, he was heav­ily in­volved in pro­mot­ing a “Pre­scrip­tion Drug Drop-Off Day” which en­cour­aged the pub­lic to drop off old and un­used pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing Hal­ton po­lice sta­tions.

“Spring Clean­ing?? Safe­guard your home by drop­ping off your un­used and un­wanted pre­scrip­tion drugs,” he tweeted on April 9, 2016.

Su­san Clairmont’s com­men­tary ap­pears reg­u­larly in The Spec­ta­tor. sclair­mont@thes­pec.com 905-526-3539 | @su­san­clair­mont

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.