Toronto councillor wants to tighten hiring rules after mall shooting

Police close off an area at the Toronto Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto, June 2, 2012....

Police close off an area at the Toronto Eaton Centre shopping mall in Toronto, June 2, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Don Peat and Sam Pazzano QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 PM ET

TORONTO — A Toronto city councillor has called on the city to tighten up its hiring practices in the wake of the revelation the accused Eaton Centre mall shooter was facing weapons charges when he was hired to work in an after-school program.

Christopher Husbands was facing nine weapons charges and eight other charges in Hamilton, Ont., when he was hired by the city to work with children.

The gun charges were withdrawn less than five weeks before the Eaton Centre shooting and Husband's employment with the city of Toronto ended two weeks before the tragic event that left two people dead and five others injured.

QMI Agency has revealed Husbands failed to submit a required criminal record check to the city and worked for months as part-time employee in a kids' after-school program despite a 2010 sexual assault charge still before the courts and a 2008 drug conviction.

"It only shows and proves to me the city needs to do a better job of who they hire and do a better background check," Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti said Friday.

Mammoliti -- the chairman of the Toronto's community development and recreation committee -- said when it comes to employees working with children and other vulnerable individuals, the city should be doing its own background checks.

The city was "unaware" Husbands was facing weapons charges in Hamilton, a spokesman confirmed Friday.

City officials vowed in June that employees' files would be checked to ensure workers had proper background checks. A city spokesman confirmed Friday that work has been done.

Husbands' Hamilton weapons charges -- including possession of a loaded .40-calibre handgun --  were withdrawn in April because the prosecution determined there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. Police charged Husbands after he was found sleeping in another man's 2004 Nissan Maxima with a handgun concealed in a vent on March 29, 2010 in Hamilton.

The police haven't been able to locate the owner to charge him with possession of the firearm.

Husbands, who pleaded guilty to two counts each of breaching bail conditions and obstructing police and one count of possession of marijuana, received four months of time served plus a $200 fine for the pot possession in April.  

Husbands is slated to appear in court in Toronto on Aug. 15 to face two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder for the June 2 Eaton Centre shooting.

don.peat@sunmedia.ca


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