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Second man pleads guilty after dumping friend's body 'like unwanted garbage'

'The mistreatment of human remains is an affront to the community and its values,' judge says during sentencing in case linked to Collingwood-area robbery
2020-04-01 OPP stock

A man who dumped his friend’s body “like unwanted garbage” on a Toronto sidewalk after a failed Collingwood-area robbery has been handed a 14-month jail sentence, reduced to nine months after receiving credit for pre-sentence custody and house arrest.

In the case of a co-accused, meanwhile, the Crown is seeking nearly six months after credit for 613 days in pre-sentence custody while the defence asked the judge to sentence him to time served.

The two men were among four people who showed up at a Clearview Township home after midnight on March 2, 2020 in what police described at the time as a home invasion/robbery gone wrong in which the resident was shot but survived.

Court heard the resident squeezed off shots from a shotgun and another man was killed.

The dead man was identified as 36-year-old Rohan Rose, of Toronto. At the time, police said he was considered a suspect in the home invasion.

Marvin Lattif, 35, of Toronto, had earlier pleaded guilty to committing an indignity to human remains by disposing of a body at the side of the road.

In quoting another judge during Thursday’s sentencing, Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst said the end of a life is a “momentous event” and marking someone’s passing is an integral part of our social fabric.

“The mistreatment of human remains is an affront to the community and its values,” she said.

Taking the body and dumping it in Toronto interfered with a police investigation and deflected attention from Lattif  who was bound by a firearms prohibition order  and the others, Fuerst added.

“Mr. Lattif participated in the dumping of the body of Mr. Rose at the roadside much as one might dispose of a piece of unwanted garbage from a vehicle,” even though they were close friends, said the judge. “Mr. Lattif’s behaviour was reprehensible.”

In a separate court appearance before the same judge on Thursday, 49-year-old Paul Morris pleaded guilty to two unrelated offences: offering an indignity to a human body in connection with the same case and possession of fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking.

Court heard that Morris drove the black Mercedes in which Lattif, Rose and Rick Graham travelled, leaving Toronto on March 1, 2020 and arriving at the Clearview Township home after midnight and then returning to Toronto several hours later.

Charges against Graham, who was 32 at the time, are being stayed, meaning he won't be prosecuted as part of Lattif’s plea deal.

Much of their travels in the Toronto area were captured on video, providing a timeline of events.

Morris was also charged in Collingwood on July 9 of that year after police found 55.4 grams of cocaine and 15.7 grams of fentanyl in another black Mercedes Morris was driving, Crown attorney Julie Janiuk told the court.

She said Morris, a father of seven, has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1984 when he was a youth.

When asked if he wanted to address the court, Morris read a letter.

“I take full responsibility for my actions,” said Morris, adding he suffered from abuse as a child, which led to a drug problem.

He said he intends to get back to work through his union membership and care for his family, which he hasn’t  been able to do during the 613 days he spent in custody waiting for his day in court.

During that time, he said there have been four lockdowns related to the pandemic and he’s had just one visit.

“It’s hell here. I would not wish this on my worst enemy,” Morris said during a video feed from the Central North Correctional Centre in Penetanguishene.

Morris returns to court April 5 for sentencing.