Hearing of Ottawa Detective Can’t Be About ‘Theories’ Linking COVID Vaccines to Infant Deaths, Court Official Warns

Hearing officer Chris Renwick says the hearing cannot and will not be a venue for ‘opinions and theories’ linking vaccination to child deaths.
Hearing of Ottawa Detective Can’t Be About ‘Theories’ Linking COVID Vaccines to Infant Deaths, Court Official Warns
A close-up of an Ottawa Police officer’s badge in Ottawa on April 28, 2022. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Matthew Horwood

OTTAWA—The hearing officer in the misconduct hearing of Helen Grus—an Ottawa Police Service (OPS) detective being charged with disorderly conduct for investigating the vaccination status of the mothers of deceased infants—declared that the hearing should not become focused on whether COVID-19 vaccines are related to child deaths.

“Spending this amount of time with every witness, it’s not helpful. It’s becoming almost a sidebar to this hearing,” Chris Renwick said in reaction to defence lawyer Bath-Sheba van den Berg’s cross-examination of a witness.

“This hearing cannot and will not be a venue for opinions and theories linking vaccination to child deaths.”

Ms. Grus, a detective with the OPS sexual assault and child abuse unit investigating child abuse and neglect, is facing a charge of discreditable conduct for allegedly conducting an “unauthorized project” between June 2020 and January 2022 when she probed into the sudden deaths of nine Ottawa children.

Ms. Grus allegedly accessed Ottawa police files and then contacted the coroner’s office to learn the COVID-19 vaccination status of the parents, as she believed there could be an association between the two. She is also alleged to have contacted the father of a deceased infant to inquire into the vaccination status of his wife, without the knowledge of the lead detective.

While Ms. Grus was suspended without pay in February 2022, she was ordered to return to work with restrictions during an Oct. 11, 2022, OPS internal hearing.

Time and Resources

During the Oct. 30 hearing, Ms. van den Berg asked a detective—whose name is subject to a publication ban—for information regarding a case of an infant death. After an objection by the prosecution, Mr. Renwick said while he understood the defence lawyer’s intent to establish Ms. Grus’s motivation for her actions, Ms. van den Berg was taking too much time to go through “all the details” with each witness.

Ms. van den Berg responded that she was asking questions about the infant deaths because she was trying to establish the two defences of reasonableness and due diligence for Ms. Grus.

“She had medical information that suggested that there are harmful side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination, and that those harmful side effects, or adverse events, include some of the same descriptions used in the preliminary autopsy reports of ... six of the nine RMS searches that she’s alleged to have conducted,” she said.

The defence lawyer argued that if Ms. Grus took all the steps she thought were right to do, then she would have a full defence because she was acting within her lawful duties. “But I can only get that out in evidence by asking these questions to the witnesses,” she said.

Mr. Renwick said that while he did not want to interfere with the defence’s case, Ms. van den Berg’s “slow, methodical approach,” to questioning witnesses was taking up “considerable time and resources” without offering a visible benefit.

The prosecution lawyer added that the defence appeared to be attempting to use preliminary autopsy reports of the six infants as evidence, which she said was “extremely concerning,” as the families had not given consent for those reports to be used.

Ms. van den Berg responded that she needed to ask questions thoroughly to ensure a fair disciplinary hearing, and said that if the OPS was concerned about time and resources, “I would submit that the chief of the Ottawa Police Services withdraw this charge against detective Grus.”

The unnamed detective did not provide any further details on the infant’s death. Previously in the hearing, Ms. van den Berg asked for copies of the coroner’s autopsy reports in order to clarify the charge against Ms. Grus, arguing that “there are a number of pieces of evidence that haven’t been provided.”


The court also heard from OPS detective Chris Boettcher, who was asked about an incident where a baby had died from myocarditis. Mr. Boettcher said he had never witnessed a case where a child so young had died from a heart issue, and also said there had been no inquiry as to the COVID vaccination status of the mother.

Mr. Boettcher was asked about previous testimony to the OPS where he said he believed Ms. Grus was digging into the infant deaths for “personal reasons based on her kind of mode of thinking.” Mr. Boettcher told the defence lawyer he had no evidence that this was the case, and said while it was possible Ms. Grus believed there could be a criminal occurrence causing harm or death, “I don’t know how she could reach that conclusion.”

Mr. Boettcher was also asked about his previous testimony to the OPS, where he referred to an email that Ms. Grus had sent to her colleagues in September 2021 as a “huge manifesto or diatribe of a typical sort of right-wing conspiracy.” In the email, Ms. Grus said she was concerned with the adverse effects of the “experimental mRNA gene therapies commonly known as the ‘COVID vaccine.'”

When Mr. Boettcher was asked by the defence which part of the email was right-wing, he responded that it was an “over-characterization” of the email. He said she was asking the OPS or a designate to answer questions related to the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Just kind of how [the email] was placed and that it was asked of the OPS, it made no sense to me,” he said.