Toronto police issue arrest warrant in death of former CBC journalist

By CityNews Staff

Toronto police have identified a suspect in the random assault that killed longtime CBC producer Michael Finlay, an investigator with the force said Friday as he pleaded with the wanted man to turn himself in.

Det. Jason Hillier said tips from the public helped identify the 43-year-old Toronto man believed responsible for last month’s attack in the city’s east end who is now wanted on one charge of manslaughter.

“If you’re watching this, I encourage you to speak with a lawyer and turn yourself in to the nearest police station,” Hillier said at an afternoon news conference at which he also released pictures of the suspect.

Hillier said early indications suggest there was no connection between the victim and suspect and the attack appears to have been random.

Police previously said they were called to an intersection in Toronto’s bustling Greektown neighbourhood on the afternoon of Jan. 24 and found a 73-year-old man with serious injuries.

CBC previously identified Finlay as the victim earlier this week, a fact Hillier confirmed on Friday.

In a note sent to staff and obtained by The Canadian Press, the network said the 31-year CBC veteran died on Tuesday, a week after the alleged assault.

Cathy Perry, the network’s executive director of newsgathering and operations, said Finlay died of medical complications after the attack.

Hillier added few other details, but noted Finlay was conscious when he was taken to hospital.

“We had an interaction between our victim and our unknown suspect at that time that resulted in serious injuries,” he said.

“Unfortunately for reasons I can’t discuss, he ultimately passed away from the injuries.”

The internal note to CBC staff highlighted Finlay’s long and illustrious career with the network, which ended with his retirement in 2010.

“Michael will be remembered as an exceptional storyteller, documentary-maker and editor,” Perry wrote in the letter, noting Finlay worked on several CBC programs.

The public broadcaster said the longtime former CBC producer travelled the world to create radio documentaries. He also worked as the executive producer of CBC’s Sunday Morning, a radio show which brought stories from around the world to Canadian listeners.

Hillier said the investigation is ongoing and asked the public to come forward with any information that could help police locate the suspect.

“There is no such thing as an unimportant tip for us, we want to hear it,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

Sharif Hassan, The Canadian Press

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