Toronto police officer leaked information to son knowing he would use for crime, lawsuit alleges

·4 min read
Bill Horrace was killed in London, Ont. in June 2020. Horrace was accused before his death of committing atrocities during Liberia's civil war.  (Front Page Africa - image credit)
Bill Horrace was killed in London, Ont. in June 2020. Horrace was accused before his death of committing atrocities during Liberia's civil war. (Front Page Africa - image credit)

A Toronto detective constable knew his son was involved in criminal activity when he gave him confidential police information that was later used to commit a murder and home invasion, a lawsuit alleges.

The allegation is found in a statement of claim filed by the family of Bill Horrace, who was killed in London, Ont. in June 2020. Horrace was accused before his death of committing atrocities during Liberia's civil war.

The wrongful death suit, dated October 2020, also alleges the Toronto Police Services Board and former Chief Mark Saunders failed to ensure police databases were used only for legitimate purposes.

CBC News was sent a copy of the claim by the family's lawyer, Phil Tunley, after reporting last month that Toronto Police Det.-Const. Trevor Gregory, 47, allegedly tricked a colleague into conducting an unauthorized license plate search in a police database to obtain an address for Horrace. (Horrace is also identified by another spelling, Horace, in previous reporting by both CBC News and other media outlets.)

According to police disciplinary tribunal documents, the detective constable's son — identified in the documents only by his initials — told him "he had been defrauded out of a large sum of money," but that he had the suspected fraudster's license plate information.

The lawsuit claims the detective constable then passed the address of the home where Horrace was visiting family to his son, Keiron Gregory.

London Police Service
London Police Service

The younger Gregory is accused of breaking into the home and killing Horrace the next day. The 23-year-old was charged with second-degree murder.

Det. Const. Gregory was meanwhile charged with breach of trust last year and is currently suspended with pay while also facing Police Services Act charges.

Allegations not tested in court

The allegations in the suit have not been tested in court.

The suit seeks more than $525,000 in damages for Horrace's large family from the Toronto Police Services Board, former chief Mark Saunders, Trevor Gregory, Keiron Gregory and three unnamed males alleged to have participated in the home invasion.

It also seeks additional amounts from the Gregorys as well as the three unnamed males.

The Toronto Police Services Board, former chief Saunders, and the elder Gregory have filed a notice of intent to defend. Their lawyer declined to comment on the allegations.

"The usual legal protections around the presumption of innocence and the unproven nature of allegations in documents remain in place," David Butt, a lawyer for the detective constable, said in an email.

A lawyer for Keiron Gregory declined to comment.

Home invasion

According to the statement of claim, Horrace and his wife awoke to the sound of breaking glass and shouting on the morning of June 21, when Keiron Gregory and three unidentified males had broken in.

Gregory and one of the unidentified males carried guns; the other two males were carrying bats, says the suit.

Colin Butler/CBC News
Colin Butler/CBC News

"When Bill asked what they were doing and what they wanted, they replied that they wanted money," the statement says. "A fight ensued between Bill and the intruders."

Gregory and the unidentified male fired their guns, the statement alleges, and Horrace was struck by at least one bullet.

The intruders fled with roughly $20,000 and a cellphone. Horrace died later that day, according to the statement of claim.

The suit alleges the elder Gregory agreed to help his son obtain an address for Horrace "knowing that his son….wanted the information for the purposes of committing a crime or crimes against the owner of the vehicle, including an armed and forceful home invasion."

It also alleges the detective constable knew his son had been charged with unrelated offences by the Toronto Police Service at least nine times when he allegedly leaked the database information to him.

At least 12 prior charges against son withdrawn

CBC News located records of 12 criminal charges, many of them drug offences, against the younger Gregory prior to June 2020. All were eventually withdrawn.

Defence lawyer Brian Kolman, who represented the younger Gregory on drug charges and possession of an imitation firearm from 2018, said there were issues with police conduct during Gregory's arrest, and the Crown chose not to proceed.

"They were already collecting evidence when he was in an investigative detention and…seized items from him and…[had] him make statements before they even gave him the right to counsel," Kolman said.

A long-time friend and former university football teammate of the elder Gregory, Kolman recalled Keiron Gregory contacting his father after his arrest.

"I think he spoke to his father at some point," Kolman said. "That was the only time that...anything about his father had come up."

In an email to CBC News, Toronto police spokesperson Connie Osborne said officers are prohibited from "associating with any person" if the relationship would damage the reputation of the service, "or create doubt as to their ability to fulfill the conditions of their oath or affirmation of office and secrecy."

Asked if Gregory was ever subjected to discipline for associating with his son despite his son's past charges, Osborne said the officer "has not appeared at [the disciplinary] tribunal before."

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