Neurosurgeon charged with murder of doc wife denied bail
By Sam Pazzano, Toronto Sun
First posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 08:13 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 08:15 PM EDT
A prominent Toronto neurosurgeon accused of killing his physician wife and dumping her body in Vaughan was denied his freedom on Wednesday.
Justice Michael Brown rejected Dr. Mohammed Shamji’s bid for bail but his reasons cannot be disclosed because of a publication ban.
After the decision, Shamji waved to his parents and family members as they exited the packed courtroom.
Shamji, 41, was charged with first-degree murder on Dec. 2, 2016, the day after his the body of his spouse, Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji, was found in a family suitcase in the Humber River in Kleinberg.
Shamji’s lawyer Liam O’Connor said his client still receives support from the community, family, friends, patients and strangers to this day, some of whom attended the bail hearing.
O’Connor said only one side of the tragedy has been reported so far, but another side will soon be revealed.
“But I’ve never seen a story where there wasn’t a second side to the story. And that story will be told, I can assure you,” said O’Connor.
The couple’s three children are living with their maternal grandparents in Windsor, said Michael Lista, who wrote a comprehensive article on the case for Toronto Life’s June edition.
“The Fric family is devastated,” said Lista. “Elana was highly regarded by her peers.”
She was a family physician at Scarborough General Hospital and a delegate for the Ontario Medical Association.
She received a master’s degree in public policy at Duke University, which she attended on an extremely rare, academic scholarship, said Lista.
“She was the leading mind in her program. She was fiercely witty with a macabre sense of humour and a remarkable student who raised two children in a deeply-troubled marriage while she outperformed other students,” said Lista. “She was an amazing woman.”
Neurosurgeon charged with murder of doc wife denied bail | Toronto & GTA | News
Right decision to deny accused wife killer bail
By Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun
First posted: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 07:37 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, August 30, 2017 07:53 PM EDT
It was the only decision that could be made. The only correct decision, that is.
Dr. Mohammed Shamji will remain behind bars while he awaits trial on charges he murdered his wife, Dr. Elana Fric, even if that means the celebrated neurosurgeon will be wearing inmate orange for at least the next year. Justice Michael Brown’s reasons for denying bail are covered by a publication ban, but he would certainly have taken into consideration the heinous nature of the allegations and the loss of public confidence in the administration of justice if Shamji had been granted bail.
What outrage that would have unleashed. What a horrible message that would have sent.
And despite the fears of Fric’s family that money may talk and the celebrated neurosurgeon would win his release because his family could post a hefty bond, the accused wife killer won’t be going home to his prominent parents in Ottawa or anywhere else on the outside.
“Thank the Lord,” said a very happy Michelle Vrbanek, Fric’s cousin, when told of Brown’s decision. “This is wonderful news.”
Vrbanek had wanted to be there — she’s attended several of Shamji’s court appearances — but she can’t always spare the time off work and the emotional toll it takes.
“Seeing him in person last week disgusted me,” she said.
His patients call him a miracle worker. She calls him a “monster.”
The accusations against him are certainly monstrous. Police sources at the time told Sun columnist Joe Warmington that after a loud argument, the Scarborough Hospital family physician was strangled and struck with a blunt force object while in the garage of the couple’s Verwood Ave. home before her lifeless body was stuffed in a suitcase and dumped beside the Humber River, near Nashville Rd. and Hwy. 27 in Kleinburg.
Sources told Warmington the suitcase belonged to the victim’s mother — the same one she used to bring her belongings to Canada from her native Croatia decades ago.
The gruesome discovery of Fric’s body was made Dec. 1, 2016, the day after her mom reported her missing. A harrowing description in a Toronto Life article described Fric being barefoot and clad in pyjamas, her hair hacked off and her face so swollen that her mother couldn’t recognize her. Police said she died of strangulation and blunt force trauma at the couple’s upscale North York home sometime between the evening of Nov. 30 and the morning of Dec. 1.
None of the allegations by police have been proven in court. Shamji is expected to plead not guilty when his trial is slated to begin in the fall of 2018.
Just a short time before her murder, Fric, a 40-year-old health care advocate, told her family and colleagues that she was finally filing for divorce and looking forward to a fresh start. Despite their glamourous image on social media — two successful physicians, travelling the world, running races and parenting three adorable children - their marriage had reportedly been rocky for a long time with at least one serious allegation of domestic violence. Court records show that in 2005, Shamji was charged with threatening and assaulting her.
In July 2005, he entered into a peace bond where he admitted his wife “fears on reasonable grounds” that he would “cause personal injury to her” and “did use inappropriate actions.” In return, the charges against him were dropped.
Shamji was fortunate that time. That luck has run out.
Read Mandel Wednesday through Saturday.
Right decision to deny accused wife killer bail | MANDEL | Toronto & GTA | News