Ottawa Police Service (OPS) leadership singled out a detective because she opposed Covid mandates and was critical of the vaccine, and even forbid her from discussing Covid at work, according to evidence and testimony provided during Detective Helen Grus’ discreditable conduct tribunal, which recessed Friday.

The 20-year OPS veteran and Grus’ legal team say they still lack disclosure for key pieces of evidence to defend against allegations she brought the force into disrepute by probing links between the Covid vaccine and sudden infant deaths, including access to final autopsy reports and other evidence seemingly germane to the charge.

Through the five hearing days that began on August 14, Ottawa Police prosecutor Vanessa Stewart expressed several times that Grus’ admission she breached policy by failing to record her activities was sufficient evidence to find her guilty.

Grus’ admission made during a nearly three-hour compelled statement she gave to Professional Standards Unit (internal affairs) investigator Jason Arbuthnot, in conjunction with testimony from three police witnesses, including Arbuthnot, also revealed superiors did in fact single out Grus.

(Left to right) Detective Helen Grus and her legal team Bath-shéba van den Berg, Blair Ector

Approximately a month before OPS announced its mandatory vaccine policy for all members, the tribunal heard that Grus received a September 9, 2021 email from her commanding officer Sergeant Marc-André Guy forbidding her from discussing Covid or the experimental vaccines at work, or even considering the shots as a possible cause of sudden infant deaths.

Grus’ counsel Blair Ector referred to these constraints as “the Grus rules” and claimed that “those rules directly targeted my client.” The tribunal would later hear evidence that Guy also told Sexual Assault and Child Abuse (SACA) detectives to avoid working alone with Grus and instead use a buddy system to avoid what Sgt. Guy described as “disruptive” conversations about Covid-19.

Grus was also sent to work from the Stittsville police station because other co-workers feared the unvaccinated Grus could infect them with Covid and in Sgt. Guy’s compelled statement to PSU investigator Sgt. Arbuthnot, he suggested that Gru­s “either lied, or found a loophole” to rent a hockey rink in Kemptville for her three boys and his friends to play when minor hockey leagues were requiring participants have two doses of the Covid shots.

Grus’ defence showed that at the time, Grus was able to rent the rink due to local Covid ordinances, which stated participants under the age of 18 did not need to be vaccinated.

The tribunal also learned that in two recent performance reviews of Grus’ SACA work in 2019 and 2021, Sgt. Guy grades her work as exceptional: “Meets and exceeds expectations; exceeds all expectations.” But Grus’ opinions about Covid mandates and vaccines appeared to change his attitude towards her, as noted in Sgt. Guy’s September letter to his underling.

The tribunal has also denied Grus’ defence team of Ector and Bath-shéba van den Berg disclosure of evidence regarding Professional Services Unit’s (PSU) abandoned investigation of the internal leak to CBC, which publicized confidential police information about its original investigation of Grus for insubordination, later changed to discreditable conduct on July 26, 2022.

Lawyers for OPS argued and tribunal trial officer Chris Renwick, a retired Ottawa police superintendent, agreed that the autopsies and CBC leak are inadmissible as evidence for the Police Services Act charge against Grus.

According to testimony thus far, the allegation against Grus hinges on wrong-think and a nexus of policy and paperwork errors: that the SACA unit detective engaged in an unauthorized investigation for personal reasons, then neglected to keep an accurate duty book record of it.

Stewart remained relentless as she was tedious in keeping Police Services Act tribunal within these narrow parameters and Renwick ruled in Stewart’s favour overwhelmingly more often than he did for the defence.

This pattern continued throughout the five-day session: Stewart’s constant objections to evidence presented by Ector and van den Berg, including Pfizer’s own documents admitting its mRNA Covid vaccine technology could harm pregnant women and newborns.

While Ector and van den Berg prevailed on entering the Pfizer documents–contained in multiple volumes of evidence, Grus compiled about the Covid vaccines and related injuries–they were denied entering perhaps the most shocking evidence of all: notice of a 36-hour wiretap of Grus and her family between February 18-19, 2022, granted weeks after she was suspended. 

Renwick agreed with Stewart that ‘section 188’ wiretap provision was likely in relation to a criminal matter while the current tribunal serves an administrative law function.

“Take it to the Minister of the Attorney General (of Ontario),” Stewart said.

Sergeant Guy remained adamant about his position on the vaccine, even with the understanding that there are health risks.

As of publication, Public Health Agency of Canada admits nearly 11,000 “serious adverse events” including 88 miscarriages while Pfizer’s own documents released in 2022 under Texas court order indicate more than 50% of pregnant and nursing mothers and/or their infants suffered adverse events, post-rollout of the fast-tracked drugs.

Nevertheless, Sgt. Guy told the tribunal that as far as he was concerned, “If there was information there was a link (between the vaccines and infant deaths), it’s still not a criminal matter…I would close the case.”

Van den Berg then suggested to the tribunal that because public health officials had vouched for the safety of the vaccines, any harm caused by the drugs could amount to criminal code violations, including criminal negligence or breach of trust by a public officer.

Despite the written warning from Sgt. Guy and an alleged verbal warning from Guy’s superior Staff Sergeant Shelley Rossetti, Grus persisted with her probe and attended two town hall-style meetings hosted by senior ranking police officers, including then-Chief Peter Sloly, on December 13, 2021 and January 15 to share her findings.

Protesters outside of the tribunal.

During those confabs, the tribunal heard that Grus’ raised what she perceived as a spike in sudden infant deaths concurrent with the vaccine rollout, queried how OPS would deal with members who declined mandatory Covid shots, and offered support to fellow members suffering serious adverse events they attributed to the jab.

Contained in a nearly three-hour audio recording of her compelled statement to Sgt. Arbuthnot, Grus can be heard crying as she recounts officers who brought their vaccine injuries to the attention of police brass during the town halls.

“(One member) had heart issues, another swollen lymph nodes the size of a grapefruit,” she says. Answering why she accessed RMS files on one particular infant death file, Grus replies, “I’m not OK with babies dying and not getting answers.”

“Every death is suspicious until you rule all suspicion out,” she told Sgt. Arbuthnot.

On January 30, 2022, Grus unknowingly worked her last day as a member of the SACA unit, the same day she reached out to the father of a deceased child to query the vaccine status of the mother. The tribunal heard testimony from Sgt. Arbuthnot that to his knowledge, neither OPS nor Ontario’s privacy commissioner received a complaint about the query.

Four days later February 4, 2022, OPS issued a ‘chief’s complaint’ for Grus, indicating she was under investigation for accessing the police’s “RMS” database “for the purpose of researching and collecting information involving the death of children. It is further alleged that you have made inquiries as to whether the parents of these children were vaccinated.”

The tribunal also heard evidence that in her two-decade career, Grus became a trusted co-worker that others sought out for advice and that her tenacious investigative skills, like combing through RMS reports without permission of a lead investigator cracked a cold case in 2018, which ended in apprehension and prosecution of a violent child rapist. 

Both van den Berg and Ector argued that Grus was not conducting an “unauthorized investigation” but rather compiling evidence to take up the chain of command, which she attempted during the “chief’s meeting” or OPS town halls.

By February 15, 2022, Sloly had resigned as Ottawa Police Chief and was replaced by Deputy Chief Steve Bell, one day after the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act in response to the Freedom Convoy, which had gridlocked the downtown core since January 29.

On March 28, 2022, seven weeks after Grus was suspended and was under investigation by PSU, local CBC Ottawa published a story based on anonymous leaks from Ottawa police about Grus’, alleging she sought out the vaccination status of as many as nine mothers whose children recently experienced sudden infant death.

Based on the evidence presented to the tribunal and Sgt. Arbuthnot’s testimony, Grus queried the vaccine status of just one mother.  Sgt. Arbuthnot also testified that the CBC report played a role in the decision to lay discreditable conduct charges.

With eight more police witnesses scheduled to undergo cross examination, including two additional police witnesses called by Grus’ defence team and the possibility of five expert witnesses, the tribunal is expected to drag well into 2024.

The tribunal resumes on October 30.


  • Jason Unrau

    Jason is based in Ottawa. He is a former Parliamentary Press Gallery reporter. He enjoys public interest journalism.