Toronto private eye appeals obstruction of justice conviction, is released on bail

A Toronto private investigator jailed for trying to “blackmail” a victim into staying silent in a criminal case has filed an appeal of his conviction and is free on $12,000 bail.

Mitch Dubros, 62, was convicted of obstructing justice after an 11-day trial last fall. The provincially licensed private investigator was sentenced last week to a year-and-a-half in jail plus three years’ probation and ordered to perform 180 hours of community service and provide a DNA sample.

That’s all on hold now pending a hearing before the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Dubros is asking the court for a new trial.

This is the latest twist in the Dubros case, an offshoot of a completed case involving former TV and radio host Mike Bullard and Citytv reporter Cynthia Mulligan. Not long before Dubros was sentenced, he stated in a report prepared to help determine whether he would go to jail that he was “prepared to accept whatever sentence is imposed by the courts” and was “remorseful” for his actions.

Dubros’ lawyer Frank Addario has filed papers in court explaining he is appealing on the grounds that the judge in his criminal case, Justice Kenneth Campbell, gave an “incomplete, confusing, and legally incorrect answer to the jury’s questions.” Addario, a veteran lawyer, did not represent Dubros at trial and recently took over the case. Specific details concerning Addario’s issues with Campbell’s answer to the jury are not included in the appeal documents. Addario also states in his filing that Campbell erred by including the Code of Conduct that governs provincially licensed investigators in his charge to the jury.

The case at issue involves Dubros’ actions while working for Calvin Barry, the lawyer representing Bullard, who was facing harassment charges. Bullard and Mulligan had a brief romantic relationship and Bullard had been arrested by Toronto police on charges of harassing Mulligan. In 2018, two months before a preliminary hearing, Barry hired Dubros with a promise of $1,000 and told him to “dig up dirt.” Dubros told court he was never paid for the assignment.

As reported in the Star, Dubros either visited or telephoned people, including Mulligan and her work associates. Dubros’ own secret recordings show he told one person he could “sling hearsay that will taint all of your professional careers” and another “I can be ruthless, I can dig every skeleton of you.” When he visited Mulligan at her home one Sunday morning prior to the Bullard hearing, Dubros told Mulligan he was hoping for a resolution to the case that would stop “any more garbage coming out.” Mulligan told court she saw this as a “veiled threat” not to testify.

Dubros also telephoned or visited Mulligan’s work associates and her ex-husband, secretly recording all of these interactions. Each recording was played in Dubros’s trial last year.

The witnesses, including Mulligan, did testify at the Bullard preliminary hearing.

Ultimately, a criminal harassment charge against Bullard was dismissed at the preliminary inquiry on June 1, 2018. On June 8, 2018, Bullard pleaded guilty to one count of making harassing phone calls. He also pleaded guilty to two breaches of a court order—one of which required him to have no contact, direct or indirect, with Mulligan. Bullard was discharged from court with a clean criminal record and six months of probation.

Justice Campbell said that in sentencing Dubros to jail time he was sending a message to all private investigators in Ontario that they must not “threaten and intimidate” witnesses who are scheduled to testify in court cases.

Dubros’ bail documents show that Gabriel Gojacaru, a Brampton-based private investigator, has pledged a $12,000 surety. Gojacaru has a private investigation firm called Investigations Plus Ltd. His website states, “We are #1 investigation agency in Toronto,” and says the firm is made up of “dynamic professionals with a flair for solving complex cases that has been recognized by the insurance industry, law firms, large corporations, small businesses, various levels of government, as well as private individuals.”

The bail documents state that Dubros must live at a Leacock Crescent address in North York while he awaits his appeal. Until recently, Dubros owned a stately home at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue, which he sold for $3.7 million in December. The house had previously belonged to his late parents but was transferred to Dubros for $265,000 three years before their deaths in 2020. Prior to the sale last December, Dubros had placed a $500,000, high-interest mortgage on the house, which was discharged with the sale.

Details of the house sale were not presented to court. Court did hear, through the presentence report, that Dubros was $1.5 million in debt (no details of this were provided court) and that his primary source of income was government payments through the Ontario Disability Support Program due to anxiety and depression.

By court order, as part of his bail conditions, Dubros is not to contact Mulligan or any of the other witnesses at his trial.


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