July 25th, 2024

Kenneth Law facing 14 charges of 2nd-degree murder in addition to previous charges

By Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press on December 12, 2023.

Kenneth Law is shown in a Peel Regional Police handout photo. Police are expected to provide an update Tuesday on their investigation into an Ontario man accused of sending lethal substances to people who later took their own lives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Peel Regional Police **MANDATORY CREDIT**

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – An Ontario man accused of sending lethal substances to people who later took their own lives has been charged with 14 counts of second-degree murder in addition to his previous 14 charges of counselling and aiding suicide, police said Tuesday.

Police said all 28 charges against Kenneth Law relate to the same 14 alleged victims, who were between the ages of 16 and 36 and died in communities across Ontario, as far north as Thunder Bay and as far southwest as London, Ont. More than one victim was under the age of 18, they said.

York Region police Insp. Simon James, the case manager for the multi-jurisdictional investigation, said that police had found evidence to support the new charges, but he would not elaborate further.

“It’s a very ongoing investigation and it’s a continuous investigation. And I can say that evidence has come in that supports the charge of second degree murder,” he said at a news conference held in Mississauga, Ont.

“I can’t speak to that evidence at this time to preserve the investigation.”

Law’s lawyer, Matthew Gourlay, said his client would be pleading not guilty to all charges.

Police have alleged that 58-year-old Law, who is from Mississauga, ran several websites that were used to sell sodium nitrite and other items that can be used for self-harm, shipping them to people in more than 40 countries.

Investigators believe more than 1,200 packages were sent out globally, and about 160 were sent in Canada.

The 14 charges of counselling and aiding suicide that police announced in August involved alleged victims throughout the province, including four in Toronto, one in Peel Region, three in York Region, one in Durham Region, one in London, Ont., one in Thunder Bay, Ont., and one in Waterloo region.

James said police are closely looking into a possible motive, which “forms a key part of our investigation.”

“The victims and the survivors of this case are someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, mother or father,” he said.

“They’re all people and they were loved by their family and friends who continue to live without them today.”

Authorities in other Canadian regions and in other countries have said they are investigating possible links between deaths in their jurisdictions and Law’s alleged activities.

“We are collaborating with law enforcement agencies on a daily basis globally, from countries all over the world,” James said.

One of the difficulties in the case relates to the number and location of websites potentially linked to the investigation, the inspector said.

“We are aware of a number of websites,” he said. “One of the challenges that we face are a number of these sites are located in other countries where Canadian law does not apply or Canadian orders necessarily don’t apply.”

British police have said they identified 232 people in the United Kingdom, 88 of whom died, who bought products from Canada-based websites allegedly linked to Law.

Authorities in the United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand have also announced their own investigations.

Law is currently in custody and is due to appear in a Newmarket, Ont., court on Dec. 19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2023.

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