A retired Toronto detective has admitted in court to taking drugs from evidence lockers belonging to two active homicide cases over the course of 18 months.
Paul Worden, the former homicide detective, had resigned earlier this year in relation to the missing drugs but this was the first time he has publicly acknowledged stealing them.
Worden’s admission came during cross-examination in pre-trial proceedings for a murder case he was a part of. He claims that he took the drugs to treat chronic pain from work-related injuries.
The former officer also admitted that he took the drugs from ongoing cases. This contradicts his lawyer’s claims earlier this year that they only came from inactive cases.
The charges in the murder trial he was testifying at were eventually dropped, but the Crown claims it had nothing to do with the drug thefts. However, Worden’s actions did result in charges being dropped in six federal drug cases.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently reviewing the Toronto Police Service’s handling of the situation, especially regarding their decision not to criminally charge Worden.
The choice not to charge Worden was heavily criticized. Many people were saying that it showed a double standard for the police.nWorden’s lawyer has praised the decision as progressive, saying it treated addiction as a mental health issue and not a criminal one.
“The decision to not charge the officer is similar to when we don’t charge individuals when we respond to drug overdoses,” said police in a statement from February.
Earlier this year, Worden became the focus of an internal investigation into suspicious locker entries. After which, he suddenly resigned, admitting to fellow officers that he took opioids from evidence lockers.
Worden has since received professional help for his addiction.