October 20, 2021
A former Toronto police homicide detective who resigned earlier this year after stealing opioids from the force's evidence lockers has admitted in court that he removed drugs on as many as 20 separate occasions over at least 18 months.
Under cross-examination in connection to a murder case in Ontario Superior Court last month, retired Det. Paul Worden testified that he took drugs from active cases. One instance included removing "three or four percocet pills" from evidence connected to the November 2018 fatal shooting of 23-year-old Cardinal Licorish, an investigation Worden had, at one time, headed. Prosecutors have since withdrawn a second-degree murder charge against the accused in the case.
"Your experience as (an) officer was that you were actively committing an obstruction of justice?" Monte MacGregor, defence lawyer for one of two accused, asked in a cross-examination last month.
"I didn't think — yes, you're right. I didn't really think it at the time, but I did it, yes," Worden replied.
"And you knew that it was in relation to something serious, a homicide trial and ongoing investigation?" MacGregor continued.
"Correct, I knew that, yes," he replied.
Worden's testimony provides new details about the internal investigation into his conduct — and the ripple effects on the justice system — nine months after the officer suddenly resigned, admitting he'd removed opioids from evidence lockers. The admission came after he became the focus of an internal investigation into a suspicious locker entry.
The incident is part of a small but growing number of cases involving officers stealing drugs from their police service's evidence lockers, in some circumstances after suffering injuries that left them with chronic pain.