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New charges placed on Ontario man accused of selling self harm products linked to over 100 deaths

Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health there are a number of ways to get help, including by calling Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566. A list of local crisis centres is also available here.

The Mississauga man accused of selling sodium nitrite and other dangerous materials to people at risk of suicide is facing a dozen new charges, investigators confirm.

Kenneth Law, who was previously charged by Peel Regional Police with two counts of counselling or aiding suicide, now faces 12 new charges in connection with the deaths of people in regions across Ontario.

Police said the new charges involve four deaths in Toronto, three in York Region, one in Durham Region, one in London, Ont., one in Thunder Bay, one in Waterloo, and one additional death in Peel Region. All charges will now be heard at the Newmarket courthouse, police confirmed.

At a news conference at Peel police headquarters on Tuesday, York Regional Police Insp. Simon James, who is leading the multi-jurisdictional case, told reporters that the victims range in age from 16 to 36.

“We will not be releasing any information regarding the identity of the victims in these cases. This is to respect the privacy of the victims and their family members and to maintain the integrity of the investigation,” James said.

“On behalf of the investigative team, we offer our sincerest condolences to the loved ones of those we have lost due to these unimaginable set of circumstances. We continue to offer support to the friends, the family members, and the survivors.”

The update comes just days after officials in the United Kingdom confirmed that 272 people had ordered products that could be used for self-harm from Canadian websites, and of those individuals, 88 had died.

In a statement, the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the U.K. said it would be launching its own investigation into the deaths as the ongoing police investigation in Canada would not include cases in Britain.

At Tuesday’s news conference, James said officers are in regular communication with police agencies outside the country.

“Due to the nature of this investigation, we have implemented the province’s multi-jurisdictional major case management system. The system ensures that police agencies across the province of Ontario share information in a timely manner and work collaboratively together,” James said.

“Our team is focusing on Ontario charges, however we are communicating and sharing info with police services all over the world.”

The Ontario investigation includes 11 police services from across the province.

“We will not tolerate criminal actions by those who prey on vulnerable individuals in our communities and we will hold those responsible accountable,” James said.

The charges against Law have not been tested in court.

Investigators allege Law used a number of online storefronts to sell sodium nitrite.

Websites associated with Law also appeared to sell rubber tubing, gas masks and other dangerous materials which can be used for suicide, and phone consultations with Law were also advertised on the sites, police said.

Peel police are urging members of the public to be on "alert" for items containing sodium nitrite as the investigation into the lethal substance continues. (Peel police/ YouTube)

Investigators said they believe Law sent more than 1,200 packages that may have contained instruments for suicide to as many as 40 countries. Police confirmed that approximately 160 of those packages were sent to addresses in Canada.

James said that police have tracked down where the sodium nitrite was acquired but would not elaborate.

“We are aware of where it was coming from but it is not something I can speak to as it is still very active, our investigation,” he added.

While Peel police first began their investigation in the spring, James said it is believed that Law started operating the websites sometime in late 2020.

Earlier this year, police released the names of a number of companies linked to the investigation, including Academic/ACademic, AmbuCA, ICemac, Escape Mode/escMode, and Imtime Cuisine.

“We ask that the public be cautious and vigilant of online activities. If you have received a package from any one of the companies… we urge you to contact your local police,” James said.

“If you or anyone who know has spoken to Kenneth Law about self-harm or if you have noticed payment or transactions related to any of these companies, please contact us at our dedicated tip line at 1-888-714-0003. If you wish to remain anonymous you can also call via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.”

James would not say whether he believes additional charges will be laid against Law, who now faces a total of 14 counts of counselling or aiding suicide.

Including the U.K. cases, the total number of deaths that may be linked to products allegedly sold by Law now stands at more than 100. 

“I cannot speak to the total number of deaths as it is an active and ongoing investigation at this time,” James said.

-With files from CTV News Toronto’s Jon Woodward and CP24’s Aisling Murphy Top Stories

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