Major shortcomings in a Toronto police probe into the deaths of billionaire philanthropists Barry and Honey Sherman have prompted the couple’s relatives to offer a multimillion-dollar reward for information that would solve the case, a lawyer for the family said Friday.
Brian Greenspan outlined a litany of alleged errors and lapses in the police investigation into the couple’s deaths, which detectives have described as a targeted double homicide.
He said those errors first surfaced when the Shermans’ bodies were discovered last December in their Toronto mansion and persist to this day.
“Police are required, by law, to maintain a certain professional standard in their approach to investigations,” Greenspan said at a press conference billed as an update on the case. “But in this case, at this stage of the investigation, the manner in which the Toronto Police Service conducted itself fell well below that standard.”
Toronto police said Chief Mark Saunders will address Greenspan’s allegations on Friday afternoon.
Greenspan said he was hired by the family 24 hours after Barry and Honey Shermans’ bodies were found by the side of their basement pool.
He said police first erred by indicating that they were not searching for any suspects — statements that Greenspan said amounted to police suggesting the founder of pharmaceutical giant Apotex and his wife died as a result of either suicide or murder-suicide.
He said that sent the wrong message and set the tone for an inadequate investigation.
Greenspan said police did not vacuum the house, properly check points of entry into the mansion, or collect sufficient fingerprint and DNA evidence. He maintained some of those tasks have still not been completed.
The lawyer headed up a team of private investigators hired by the family, including several former Toronto homicide detectives, Ontario’s former chief pathologist, and forensic experts. He said his team has recovered evidence, including 25 finger and palm prints, that they have shared with police.
Greenspan said the family has offered a reward of up to $10 million to help bring the case to a conclusion.
“We’re trying to light the fire. That’s part of the reason we’ve gathered today to provide the new incentive for members of the public to come forward with information which they might have,” he said.
“But also to light the fire under the Toronto Police Service and try to ensure that those investigative steps which either have not yet been completed and ought to have been taken by this time are completed.”
Police have not provided any updates on their own investigation since January, and Greenspan did not disclose any details of what his team has uncovered.
The Canadian Press