Wed, October 27, 2004
LAWYER Michael Morse is allegedly at the centre of an antiques theft ring along with burglars, biker associates and a gentleman thief eligible for a pension. Morse, 57, facing eight charges of conspiracy, six charges of possessing stolen property and possession of the proceeds of crime, bolted from reporters after being fingerprinted and photographed at 51 Division Monday night.
A raid at his Bellhaven Rd. home led to the seizure of a Mac G2 computer and flat screen monitor, a Samsung plasma screen television, all allegedly stolen, along with a World War II-era 9-mm pistol.
Police allege Morse was at the top of a gang of burglars, many of whom he has represented in court over the years.
His co-accused include Ira Hussey, a biker associate and one-time pal of murdered mob enforcer Eddie Melo.
ACQUITTED WITH MELO
Hussey, 56, was acquitted along with Melo in the precedent-setting Askov case in 1991, which led to hundreds of criminal cases being thrown out for unreasonable delays.
Also arrested Monday were: Penny Joan Sherman, 62, Wayne Michael Hines, 47, and Gail Patry, 46. Joseph Andre Gagne, 49, is sought on a warrant. Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Joanna Beaven said they are well-known, career criminals.
News of the allegations shocked both Crown and defence lawyers alike because Morse has a strong reputation among both groups.
Morse is "a hard-working, senior and respected member of the criminal bar association," defence lawyer Sid Freeman said.
Morse has represented such well-known clients as Eli Askov and notorious drunk driver Alvaro Malicia, during his 23 years as a defence lawyer.
Morse also served for five years in the Toronto Crown attorney's office from 1975 to 1981.
Arrests were also made Monday in a separate but related burglary cell allegedly involving notorious conman and charming gentleman thief Darryl James Vincent, 66, and brothers Sergei Katchaturov and Yurii Katchaturov.
RECORD GOES WAY BACK
Vincent has a criminal record dating back more than 40 years and was already in jail charged in unrelated property crimes when detectives came to charge him with conspiracy in this case.
In 1992, he was sentenced to 4 1/2 years for what the judge called "a sophisticated, extensive and mind-boggling enterprise."