Man beats fentanyl trafficking charge due to charter violation. Here’s the video of the dog sniffing the car


A B.C. Justice recently threw out the case against a man charged with trafficking 27,500 fentanyl pills.

In a decision published in January, he said it wasn’t clear if the dog sat or not.

And new video, obtained exclusively by Global News, shows the entirety of the traffic stop, including the moment the dog investigates the vehicle.  

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READ MORE: Did the drug-sniffing dog sit or not? Debate leads to man’s acquittal in B.C. fentanyl bust

Here’s why the extent of the dog’s sit matters: If the dog properly sat down, it would have indicated the dog was “in odour,” meaning it had found drugs.

But in the case of Sandor Rigo, who was stopped on a Chilliwack highway in April 2017, the dog, named PSD Doods, was unable to sit down all the way. The police officer who made the stop said this was because a curb was in the way.

An officer who stopped Rigo – only identified by the Justice’s decision as Corporal Catellier – said he believed the dog was in odour and had the car towed so it could be thoroughly searched. Police say over 27,000 fentanyl pills were found in the wheel well.

The dash-camera video from the RCMP vehicle, obtained by Global News, offers a partial view of what happened.

The video shows the officer pulling over Rigo, who was driving a Dodge Caravan. The officer can be heard asking Rigo where he was going and why he appeared to be shaking. Rigo answered that he was picking up used tires from a friend and he was shaking due to hypoglycemia, a condition which requires people to eat frequently to keep their blood-sugar levels stable.

Rigo was then asked to exit his van and sit in the RCMP vehicle. That’s when Cpl. Catellier brought PSD Doods to sniff the outside of the van.

RCMP PDS Doods sniffs Sandor Rigo’s van.

HO / RCMP dashcam video of traffic stop

The dog can be seen sniffing the outside of the driver’s side of the van. She is then directed to the passenger side of the van, which is out of view of the dash camera, and next to a high concrete curb.

On the video, the moment in question can be heard, but only partially seen. The officer repeatedly says, “Good girl,” to PSD Doods, as she is seen at the side of the car. .

A partially obstructed view of PSD Doods sniffing Sandor Rigo’s vehicle.

Court Handout

An expert witness in court said the dog wasn’t showing other signs of being in odour — which normally includes wagging her tail.

Vancouver Island police seize huge trove of guns, explosives, homemade silencers

But the officer testified at the time that she displayed the other signs when she was out of sight of the video.

In his decision, which was made public in January 2018, Justice Michael Brundrett said since the dog was only shown in a “partial form of ‘alert,’” there wasn’t reasonable grounds to search the vehicle.

Brundrett said Rigo’s charter rights were violated, specifically articles 8 and 10(b), which pertain to the right to be secure against detainment, search and seizure, and the right to a lawyer.

Because of this, all evidence collected after the charter breach had to be thrown out.

Criminal lawyer Dino Bottos said even if the officer is proven correct because drugs were found in the car after the fact, in cases like these the public has to remember that “the ends do not justify the means.”

He said the judge has to maintain impartiality.

When a judge excludes evidence obtained during an unlawful search and seizure, he or she is doing so not to favour a particular accused, but rather to uphold what is written into our Constitution,” he explained. 

Anything obtained after the charter violation – in this case that would be the physical drugs as well what appears to be a video of Rigo’s confession – is “considered fruit from the poisonedtree.”

“If we’re serious about protecting rights and freedoms, that means that we need to exercise control over police state actions,” Bottos explained. “Which means in this case, when there is a breach of a right, then the only reasonable remedy is to exclude the evidence found as a result of that breach.”

Almost a dozen Canadians died every day from opioid overdoses last year. Since 2016, more than 8,000 have lost their lives, primarily to fentanyl. In British Columbia, the problem has become so bad that life expectancy has dropped for the first time in decades.

WATCH: Global News investigation into the deadly fentanyl trade in Canada

The amounts traffickers are bringing in are believed to be so vast that investigators suspect their money laundering has disrupted the Vancouver-area housing market. It has also put a spotlight on casinos. But when police seize their illicit cash, traffickers often just walk away, seemingly unfazed.

Brundrett said in his decision that it was a serious case, because of the “evils” of fentanyl trafficking, but the integrity of the justice system had to be taken into account.

*With files from Sam Cooper 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Peel Police charge father of dead girl, 11, with first-degree murder


An eleven-year-old girl is dead, and her father facing a charge of first degree murder, in a case that has shaken the region.

Riya Rajkumar was supposed to be celebrating her birthday, but, instead, became the subject of a late-night Amber Alert on Thursday night.

Peel Region police said they have found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, seen here with her father Roopesh Rajkumar, hours after an Amber Alert was issued late Thursday night.
Peel Region police said they have found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar, seen here with her father Roopesh Rajkumar, hours after an Amber Alert was issued late Thursday night.  (Peel Regional Police)

She was found in her father’s home in Brampton on Hansen Rd. N., near Marshall Dr., hours after she vanished while in the care of 41-year-old Roopesh Rajkumar.

In front of the brown brick duplex, Friday, pink and white balloons blew in the wind, tied to a tree in front of the home, next to a growing pile of flowers and a bright pink teddy bear.

“Riya was like the princess of the family,” Roopesh’s cousin Ryan Ashadalli told reporters outside the home.

“She was just full of positive energy. She always had a smile wherever she went, he said, adding she had just returned from a vacation at Disneyland.

“I loved her.”

Police found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar in this Brampton home on Hansen Rd. N. early Friday morning.
Police found the body of 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar in this Brampton home on Hansen Rd. N. early Friday morning.  (Toronto Star)

Officers had to force their way into her father’s home around 11 p.m. Thursday evening. Rajkumar was arrested by Orillia OPP shortly after midnight, almost 130 km. away. He was suffering from a “medical issue,” Const. Danny Marttini told reporters outside Peel Police 22 division.

The birthdays of the girl and her mother fell on the Thursday.

“It’s very heart-wrenching,” said Marttini, who added that, in the final analysis, there’s a mother “moving forward without her daughter.”

Amber alerts were sent out late Thursday night and early Friday morning for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.
Amber alerts were sent out late Thursday night and early Friday morning for 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar.

Meadowvale Village Public School posted a statement on its website saying “this tragedy has brought tremendous sadness to the students and staff” and that grief counsellors will be at the school for as long as needed.

“Riya was a well-liked student, and her death is deeply felt by everyone at the school,” the statement read. “Even students who did not personally know Riya will also be affected by this tragedy.”

Rajkumar was taken into police custody shortly after midnight. He was taken to a hospital and then a trauma centre.

Police have charged him with first-degree murder in the death of his daughter.

The girl did not live with her father on a full-time basis, police said, but was dropped off at a Mississauga gas station at about 3 p.m.

“In a tragic situation like this, when your daughter goes to spend her birthday, especially on Valentine’s Day, with her father and you expect your child to come home, my heart aches for this family,” Const. Akhil Mooken told reporters shortly after the body was found.

“As a parent, I can’t even begin to imagine what the mom is going through, and it’s something that we never want to be involved in, but it’s a terrible situation.”

Police said Riya’s mother called the authorities when the pair did not return at 6:30 p.m., and reported that Rajkumar made comments indicating he could cause harm to himself and his daughter.

“That obviously set off alarms,” Marttini told reporters earlier. “It was of extreme concern, which is why she attended the division, saying ‘I’ve got that information and I’m concerned for the well-being of my daughter.’ ”

After police took measures such as searching where the two were last seen, pinpointing the location of the father’s cell phone and checking areas they were known to frequent, they asked for an Amber Alert to be issued.

Police visited the father’s home at around 7 p.m., but did not receive a response when they knocked on the door. At about 11 p.m., Marttini said, police forced entry into the house and found the girl’s body.

“At that point in the investigation, we had received enough information that they felt that the 11-year-old girl would, in fact, be in the residence and was in need of assistance,” Marttini said. “So, with that threat to somebody’s life, they were able to force entry.”

Asked how long the girl had been dead before police found her, Marttini said she didn’t have the exact timeline, and more will come out after the postmortem.

Emergency Management Ontario sent out an Amber Alert on mobile devices just after 11:30 p.m.

Read more: Late-night Amber Alert prompted multiple complaints to 911

“Peel Regional Police activate AMBER Alert. Victim is Riya Rajkumar age 11. Suspect is Roopesh Rajkumar age 41. Vehicle is silver Honda civic plate #ARBV 598. Last known location Eastbound 401. If observed, please call 911,” the alert read.

Peel police had requested an Amber Alert to be issued by OPP earlier in the evening, but the notification was not sent until after 11 p.m., Marttini said in a phone interview. She could not confirm what time they submitted the form.

A tip from the public, following the alert, led to Rajkumar’s arrest shortly after midnight by OPP near Orillia.

The brown brick house on Hansen Rd. N. was blocked off with police tape Friday morning, as was the side street, Crawford Dr.

Residents of the quiet residential neighbourhood were shocked.

Emmanuel Okafor saw the Amber Alert on TV late Thursday night and said he was praying it would have a positive ending.

“It’s unimaginable,” said Okafor, who didn’t know the family, but has a 6-year-old daughter of his own.

“No parent should ever have to bury their kid.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie tweeted that “there are absolutely no words to explain the senseless and tragic loss of young innocent Riya.

“As a mother of three, this makes me sick to my stomach. My heart grieves for the mother and family,” Crombie tweeted.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown thanked Peel police and the OPP for the quick arrest.

“Words cannot describe such a senseless and horrific act,” Brown tweeted.

With files from Marjan Asadullah, Ilya Banares and the Brampton Guardian

Stefanie Marotta is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @StefanieMarotta

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11


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Former SNC-Lavalin exec, accused in Libyan bribery case, has obstruction of justice charge stayed


Sami Bebawi, a former SNC Lavalin executive, has had an obstruction of justice charge stayed because it took too long for his case to get to trial.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer handed down the decision Friday, citing unreasonable delays.

Cournoyer invoked the Jordan decision, a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling which sets out timelines to deal with criminal matters.

He said the case was dormant for 11 months, calling it a « ship without a captain. »

Bebawi is accused of laundering $33 million between 2001 and 2012 in connection with contracts SNC-Lavalin negotiated with the former regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

He still faces charges of fraud, extortion, bribing a foreign official, possession of the proceeds of crime, and money laundering.

A request to have those charges stayed was rejected.

The Crown said it would take time to decide whether to appeal the decision. Bebawi declined to comment.

The decision comes amid a firestorm in Ottawa involving the engineering firm.

Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned as veterans affairs minister earlier this week — just days after a Globe and Mail report alleging that, as attorney general, she was pressured to order the director of public prosecutions to draft a « deferred prosecution agreement » to avoid taking SNC-Lavalin to trial on bribery and fraud charges in relation to its Libyan contracts.


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Community and police must co-operate, says judge in charge of report on street checks


Five days after the New Year’s Eve ball drop of a 300-plus page review of carding and police street checks in Ontario, Justice Michael Tulloch and his team met with reporters and the public to talk about the results and recommendations at a downtown Toronto hotel that is a brisk 10-minute walk away from the politics of Queen’s Park.

What will come of Tulloch’s street check report is dependent upon political will and the majority provincial Progressive Conservative government, led by Premier Doug Ford.

It was one of four, highly critical major reports into policing released within the past month, including a review of Thunder Bay Police Service by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and an interim report by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in its ongoing inquiry into racial profiling and discrimination by the Toronto Police Service.

The common thread to all of them is that none of the findings were news to Black and Indigenous communities in Toronto and the province.

On Friday, before a conference room at the Chelsea Hotel packed with rights advocates, the public and police brass from several Ontario police services, Tulloch stressed the importance of police maintaining the trust of the communities they serve.

Tulloch, an Ontario Court of Appeal justice, and his team consulted with more than 2,200 people, including representatives from 34 police services, and received more than 100 written submissions.

He soon learned the scope of the issue, and how it disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous and racialized groups.

Tulloch’s street checks report stresses the importance of training and making it clear to police what is expected of them in street check encounters, where “carding” — the complete randomness in choosing who to stop, question and document, and creating “a database for general intelligence purposes” — has no place.

Many of the recommendations made are aimed at tweaking and adding language to existing provincially-mandated street check regulations enacted in 2017. Of the 103 recommendations, several aim to clarify, suggesting the regulations should:

  • Expressly state that they do not apply to “attempts to confirm the identity of an individual who matches the description of a missing person, human trafficking victim or other victim of crime” or to “interactions that have a community-building purpose, meaning on-duty police contact with members of the community meant to foster positive relationships and/or assist members of the public without gathering identifying information for an investigative or intelligence purpose.”
  • Define “suspicious activity” to mean an activity where, under all of the circumstances, there are objective, credible grounds to request identifying information.
  • Direct and train officers who have identified suspicious activity and if it is “feasible to do so, a police officer should first make inquiries of an individual to confirm or dispel the officer’s suspicion without requesting identifying information.”

Shortly after coming to power, the Progressive Conservative government hit the pause button on a police reform bill that included wide-ranging changes, including enhancements to the province’s civilian Special Investigation Unit, a law brought in by the previous Liberal government in response to another of Tulloch’s reports on police oversight. The Conservatives are reviewing the bill, and intend to introduce a bill of their own.

In reaction to the report, Sylvia Jones, the minister who oversees policing, said this week that the government will review Tulloch’s street check report. Jones said “new police legislation will reflect a simple principle: racism and discrimination have no place in policing. Justice Tulloch’s report will inform our work as we fix Ontario’s policing legislation.”

Between 2010 and 2014, repeated Toronto Star analysis of Toronto police street check and carding data, obtained through freedom of information requests, has shown that Black people were more likely in each of the city’s 70-plus patrol zones to be stopped, questioned and documented than white people, and more so in predominantly white areas of the city.

While Black and, to a lesser extent, brown-skinned people were subject to higher rates of street checks, compared to what they represent in Toronto’s population, people with white skin colour represented the largest skin colour group, by sheer volume, in street check data examined by the Star.

Similar patterns emerged in other Ontario police jurisdictions, leading to the enactment of the province-wide regulations.

Toronto police suspended street checks involving the inputting of personal details into a database in 2015.

Jim Rankin is a reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @Jleerankin


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Thunder Bay police charge man with 2nd degree murder in killing of Braiden Jacob


The Thunder Bay Police Service said Friday that a man has been arrested and charged in connection with the death of 17-year-old Braiden Jacob.

Police said the 22-year-old suspect was arrested shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday and faces a charge of second-degree murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on Saturday.

Jacob’s body was found on Dec. 9 shortly after 11:30 a.m. near the southern portion of Chapples Park in Thunder Bay.

A postmortem examination took place in Toronto on Thursday, identifying the body as that of Jacob, who is from Webequie First Nation and was reported missing to Thunder Bay police on Dec. 6.

Thunder Bay police Acting Deputy Chief Don Lewis said Friday the postmortem results indicated a homicide had taken place.

« There was … some trauma, » Lewis said. « Unfortunately, I can’t get into the specifics, because it is now important evidence that’s part of the investigation. »

Lewis said police are now conducting interviews and going through evidence and information, and are investigating locations both inside and outside of Thunder Bay.

« It’s by no means without direction, or a still investigation, » he said. « It’s very fluid and ongoing. »

Jacob’s death is believed to be the eighth homicide of 2018 in Thunder Bay, and comes amid increased scrutiny of the city’s police force following a report that was highly critical of the TBPS’s « inadequacies » in regards to its investigations into the deaths of nine Indigenous people.


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Coercition et prise en charge des troubles mentaux


Au cours des dernières semaines, plusieurs voix se sont élevées afin de dénoncer le manque d’accès à des soins et des services de santé mentale en temps opportun. Cette situation est évocatrice du malaise social persistant associé à la maladie mentale, à sa prise en charge inégale au Québec et à la multiplication des drames humains qui en résultent. Pourtant, le débat public associé à la prise en charge des personnes aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale et leurs familles a cours depuis plus d’une décennie.

Il y a urgence d’agir.


Les récents débats auxquels nous nous référons évoquent bien souvent la loi afin d’offrir une réponse à cet enjeu. Les leviers juridiques sont en effet nombreux et relèvent de mesures d’exception qui ne doivent être utilisées qu’en dernier recours. Ces leviers permettent d’hospitaliser la personne contre son gré (en contexte de dangerosité pour elle-même ou pour autrui en raison de son état mental) ou de lui imposer des soins sous certaines conditions (la personne doit être jugée inapte à consentir à des soins considérés requis par son état de santé et les refuser catégoriquement). En apparence simple, ces leviers sont pourtant méconnus et leur compréhension par les acteurs du système de santé est excessivement variable.

Il en résulte un inconfort multilatéral.

D’une part, les difficultés d’application et l’usage contestable de ces lois d’exception sont dénoncés, preuves à l’appui, par les associations de défense des droits en santé mentale. D’autre part, les professionnels de la santé et les parents de personnes aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale dénoncent le manque de flexibilité des lois d’exception permettant d’hospitaliser ou de traiter une personne contre son gré. Pendant ce temps, la souffrance, la détresse et l’impuissance persistent de part et d’autre et nous avons l’étrange sentiment que la personne aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale est laissée à elle-même.

Mais l’usage de coercition, puisqu’il s’agit bel et bien de coercition, est-il la seule voie de salut dans ce contexte ? Autrement dit, la réponse à la souffrance des personnes aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale se traduit-elle nécessairement par l’atteinte à leurs droits fondamentaux ?

Si on peut parfois répondre « oui » à cette question, nous croyons que des solutions complémentaires pourraient être mises en oeuvre en amont de cette situation. La promesse d’un accès public élargi à la psychothérapie, l’optimisation de l’accès aux services de santé mentale de première ligne, la reconnaissance de l’expertise partagée par différents professionnels de la santé (infirmières, psychoéducateurs, travailleurs sociaux) ainsi qu’un cursus de formation destiné aux professionnels de la santé et adapté aux enjeux éthiques et juridiques de la santé mentale ne sont que quelques exemples d’initiatives à considérer.

Il s’agit avant tout de doter notre système de santé d’une capacité à personnaliser les soins et services offerts aux personnes aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale, puisque à chaque condition correspondent différents types d’interventions médicales, psychologiques ou sociales. Il s’agit également de doter les professionnels de la santé des compétences leur permettant de comprendre les modalités d’application des lois d’exception, ainsi que d’accompagner ou de référer les familles dont un proche est aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale au sein des services appropriés.

En somme, l’usage des lois d’exception permettant l’hospitalisation ou le traitement involontaire devraient avant tout rester… exceptionnels. C’est d’abord en s’assurant que les professionnels de la santé connaissent et comprennent ces lois qu’une meilleure coordination des services de santé mentale offerts par leur intermédiaire est possible.

Quant à l’accès à de tels services, nous croyons que les solutions sont plus organisationnelles que juridiques. Ces solutions ne manquent pas. Elles dépendent à notre avis d’une volonté politique visant à répondre au malaise persistant que nous avons tenté de décrire dans ce texte ainsi que d’un investissement conséquent dans les services de santé mentale, dont les services sociaux. Bien plus qu’une modification législative, la question de la prise en charge des personnes aux prises avec une problématique de santé mentale et de leurs familles nécessiterait peut-être de véritables états généraux au sein desquels les utilisateurs de services, leurs systèmes de soutien et différents acteurs du système de santé pourraient engager un dialogue constructif.


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RCMP charge man with setting up fraudulent Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe


A 32-year-old man is facing several charges, including fraud, after he allegedly set up a fraudulent GoFundMe page in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos bus collision on April 6.

The RCMP said it was contacted by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority about an alleged investor fraud operating under the name Aero Capital Inc.

While looking into Aero Capital Inc., police discovered a GoFundMe page titled #PrayForHumboldt that had received nearly $3,800 in donations from 35 donors in the U.S. and Canada.

The page has since been shutdown. 

RCMP made an arrest on Tuesday and the man is facing several charges, including fraud over $5,000, fraud under $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime. 

The alleged offences occurred between March 9, 2017 and June 20, 2018, police said in a news release.

The man appeared in provincial court on Wednesday and will be back in court Dec. 12.

Sixteen people died and another 13 were injured when the Humboldt Bronco’s team bus collided with a semi-trailer north of Tisdale. A legitimate GoFundMe page raised more than $15 million for the affected families.


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La charge rapide par induction, la fin du fil à la patte


NOUVEAUTÉ – BMW est le premier constructeur à commercialiser un système de recharge de batterie par induction. Il est pour l’instant réservé à la 530e.

Outre l’autonomie limitée et le temps de recharge élevé, la faible densité des installations est l’un des principaux freins au développement du véhicule électrique et hybride rechargeable. Sans parler de la corvée que représente, à chaque fois, la sortie des câbles de charge.

BMW a pris les devants en proposant, en première mondiale, la recharge par induction. Ce système réservé pour le moment à la 530e, la Série 5 hybride rechargeable, devrait s’étendre à d’autres modèles de la gamme dès l’année prochaine. Ce système facilite les opérations de charge de la batterie, exonérant de l’usage des câbles. Il comprend une plaque de 45 kg que l’on pose à même le sol et que l’on raccorde à une prise d’électricité et un récepteur installé sous le moteur (+ 900 €). Le dispositif produit un champ magnétique de 3,2 kW. Pour fonctionner, la Série 5 doit s’accompagner de l’option Navigation Professionnal, facturée 1 150 €. Cet équipement reliant en Wi-Fi la voiture à la plaque permet le guidage de la 530e au-dessus de la plaque. C’est particulièrement simple d’usage. Le conducteur n’a plus qu’à se laisser guider par les indications de direction affichées sur l’écran central. Il dispose d’une marge de 70 mm en longueur et de 140 mm en largeur. Sur l’écran central de la voiture, une vue aérienne permet de connecter les deux dispositifs.

Les caméras vous guident pour placer le véhicule au-dessus de la plaque.
Les caméras vous guident pour placer le véhicule au-dessus de la plaque. Tom Kirkpatrick

Il faudra encore ajouter 1 500 à 2 000 € pour les opérations de vérification de l’état du réseau et l’installation. Quant à la plaque, elle ne sera proposée qu’en location à un tarif encore non défini. Il faut 3 h 30 pour recharger la batterie de 9,2 kWh avec un taux d’efficacité à 85 %. Les entreprises devraient être sensibles à ce système. Dans le cadre d’un parc comptant plusieurs 530e, la plaque à induction pourra être partagée. Pour accélérer la diffusion des véhicules électriques et hybrides rechargeables, ce dispositif devrait être encouragé. De nombreuses études et témoignages, il ressort que de nombreux possesseurs de véhicules hybrides rechargeables rechignent à les mettre en charge, jugeant l’opération trop compliquée.


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Toronto police charge 6 students in St. Michael’s College School investigation


Toronto police have charged six students in connection with the allegations of assault and sexual assault at St. Michael’s College School.

Deputy Chief James Ramer said five students turned themselves in on Monday, while another was arrested on his way to school. All six boys are facing multiple criminal charges and will be considered young offenders.

The Canadian Press reported the charges are in connection with the sexual assault investigation at the private, all-boys Catholic school. More details are expected at a police press conference scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET, where Ramer and Insp. Dominic Sinopoli, who heads the sex crimes unit, are speaking with reporters.

Police at the news conference also said the midtown Toronto school is currently dealing with a bomb threat.

CP spoke with police sources who confirmed that one incident involved a group of students on the football team pinning down another student in a locker room and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle.

The incident was allegedly captured on camera and shared among students.

Police were also looking into at least two more incidents. One, an alleged assault that took place in a school bathroom, was also captured on camera. School officials also announced police had been notified about a third incident.

With files from The Canadian Press


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Is It Ever Okay… To Charge People at a Potluck?


Welcome to “Is It Ever Okay,” Bon Appetit’s etiquette column. Have a question? Email

“Recently, a friend hosted a potluck. I baked a dessert and a side. But then afterward, a friend of the host texted, ‘Hey, we divided the cost of [the host’s] groceries so everyone owes $10.’ Wait, what? I thought the point of bringing food was to pitch in to the meal, while other guests showed up with six-packs or nothing. How do I avoid this in the future?” —Kate R.

THIS IS CRAZY. This friendship is OVER. If someone financially needs to charge you for groceries, and knows their deadbeat friends aren’t going to bring anything or are terrible cooks, fine, there are circumstances where this makes sense (college?). But you have to put that front and center in the invite text/email/Facebook thing/Paperless Post. Otherwise WTF. Kate, you and I bitched about this so I know you already paid this cheapass, but I wish you’d reamed out your friend like “lol no, I made freaking homemade mac and cheese! That’s KINDA HARD. It takes time and bechamel! Pay ME for my CHEESE BUDGET. It’s VERY LARGE.”

“If you make Friendsgiving, or any dinner for friends, is there any non-douchey way to hint you’d love some help with the dishes? Or do you just have to know that’s part of the job, even if you don’t have a dishwasher and the sink overfloweth and you’re high-key stressed?” —Sarah W.

So many people asked me this! Just DEMAND HELP. What are you afraid of, someone saying no, they just got a manicure? (I’ve said this. But to family! I needed gloves!) Some people weren’t raised right. They don’t offer to do dishes and might sneeze in your cloth napkins and sample all of your sleeping meds, but that doesn’t mean they’re anti-dishes. They’re just waiting to be drafted. Here’s the script: “HEY BUTTHEADS, SOMEONE COME IN HERE AND DRY THESE DISHES WHILE I WASH.” I find that “buttheads” really eases the tension. Sometimes at the table, I’ll start stacking people’s dishes, but I won’t stand up and take them to the sink—that’s key. Instead, I’m sending CLUES. Then others might start stacking plates on their end of the table, then someone might even stand up and bring them to the sink. At this point I’ll call out, “Let me know if you need gloves!” and that’s my extremely effective passive-aggressive way to get people to do dishes for me. Alt: burst into tears and run into the pantry and slam the door and refuse to come out until all the dishes are DONEZO.

Snack Break


I know this dip looks like baby poop under a microscope but I’ve made it twice in the past month and it’s so creamy good, without …any… cream. Make it! Then check your teeth after, there are definitely flecks of chard right in front, yep, right there, no, to the right. You got it. Worth it tho.

“Is it okay to serve food with bones in it for a dinner party…?” —Chiara S.

I mean, are you adding bones into foods that they didn’t originally come from? Because that’s twisted and cool as heck. I’m picturing a quiche with a huge tomahawk bone sticking up from the center like the sword in the stone. Yes to bones. On your plate, in your hair, ground up and baked into your bread.

platters shallots

Photo by Chelsie Craig, Food Styling by Dana Bonagura

Glazed shallots. You got this, Bex.

“I’m responsible for the Thanksgiving sides this year. I would like to make them in advance, and since I’m somewhat lazy, are there any sides that will make me look great in front of my family that won’t force a complete mental breakdown?” —Rebecca P.

I dunno Rebecca, do you like canned green beans? You want lazy AND impressive, but that’s a fine line to tip-toe. Thanksgiving is the time to go all out. Slow down, get fancy, try a little harder than usual. You get what you put out into the world. (I heard a yoga teacher say that once, but I think she was talking about the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide as we breathe in and out. Hard to say.) So to impress your parents and make them forget about your “in flux” state of employment, your lack of a 401K or “property,” I’d say these glazed shallots are the move. You toss them in a pan with some herbs and chile, butter and vinegar, and then they roast for a half hour—AND you can make them ahead and microwave before dinner. But that’s not enough food. These roasted carrots with a sweet-spicy sauce of harissa and maple syrup are super easy, and then your parents will be all, “what’s harissa? Can I get it at Kroger? Now what do I do with it?” And you can pretend you know. Oh, and even if you don’t make the glaze for these roasted brussels sprouts, this recipe technique gets them super crispy and delightful for people who grew up traumatized by TV-dinner mushy brussels.


Alex Lau

Not an ad for Tecate. Or is it?

“Is it appropriate to tell people exactly what to bring to a dinner party (like, ‘natural wine only,’ ‘cheap beer only,’ ‘this specific salad recipe,’ etc.) The answer to this is obviously yes but I still feel like it would make a good column.” —Emma W.

Thanks for editorializing that question, Emma who may or may not work at Bon Appétit. I’m a bossy lady and agree with you, but “natural wine only” is TOO FAR. Do like our colleague Emily Schultz and tell your friends which wine stores you like so that they go there, hopefully. But asking for “natural wine” is just too pretentious, like “only wear socks with a high-thread count,” or “only bring plus ones I haven’t already slept with.” Some party details are out of your control. Things I’ve asked guests to bring: Bounty paper towels, select-a-size. Vanilla ice cream. Negra Modelo (NOT Especial). Six limes. That book they borrowed three years ago and never read, clearly. Sometimes they accommodate, sometimes not. It’s always worth a try!


Photo by Emily Schultz

Meet the Boulevardier—your winter Negroni.

“Is there an easy drink I can make with three ingredients that will replace a Negroni? I need a change.” —Greg L.

BOULEVARDIER, DUDE. Or just make the negroni with Cynar instead of Campari. Or try my favorite cocktail in the world, the Adonis: 2 parts sherry, 1 part sweet vermouth (also known as SWEET V), and a dash of orange bitters. Stir and serve up, with an orange peel if you have it, lemon if you’re roughing it.


That’s all for now, but if you have petty etiquette questions or recipe requests for me, email and betoo specific. I want the juicy details!



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