TheToronto neurosurgeonaccused of first degree murder in the death of his doctor wife was charged with uttering threats and assaulting her in 2005, when the couple was newly married.
Dr. Mohammed Shamji — charged with murder after Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji’s body was found last week in a suitcase — was charged with assault and two counts of uttering threats after a May 2005 incident; two months later, Shamji signed a peace bond and the charges were withdrawn.
The details of the incident, which occurred while the young doctors lived in Ottawa, and the conditions placed on Shamji as part of the peace bond were not accessible to staff at the Ottawa courthouse, who said the case file is now in storage.
However, a police source told the Star Tuesday the 2005 charges were in connection to a domestic dispute between Shamji and Fric-Shamji.
The couple lived in Ottawa until around 2012. Shamji was completing his residency in neurosurgery and Fric-Shamji had established a popular family medicine practice that abruptly closed when Shamji was offered a job with Toronto Western Hospital.
Last week, Shamji, 40, was charged with first-degree murder after Fric-Shamji’s body was discovered near the West Humber River Thursday afternoon. She had been reported missing by family, though not by her husband.
According to colleagues and friends, Fric-Shamji had opted to end the couple’s 12-year marriage just days before. The two were still living under the same roof, in their North York home, at the time of Fric-Shamji’s death, according to one close friend.
“We discussed that sometimes divorce is a good thing,” said Dr. Lesley Barron, an Ontario general surgeon, of a conversation she had with Fric-Shamji just days before her death.
“She said a weight was lifted off her now she had decided to go ahead with leaving her husband.”
In a statement Monday, staff from the University Health Network’s division of neurosurgery, where Shamji was employed, said employees were “shocked and distressed.”
The UHN’s neurosurgical team is now working to reassignShamji’s patients— some of whom are awaiting specialized spinal cord surgery — to other doctors.
That work is also happening at Scarborough General Hospital, where Fric-Shamji worked in the family practice teaching unit.
Friends and colleagues are reeling from the death of the doctor, mother of three and exercise enthusiast, repeatedly described as brilliant, lively and “whip smart.”
Lindsay Bisset, a fellow doctor whose kids attend the same school as the Shamji children, described her to the Star as “passionate about her children, her work and her physical fitness.”
“She adored her kids and was a terrific mom.”
On Tuesday night, rallies across Canada marked the National Day of Remembrance on Violence against Women in Canada, the anniversary of the slaughter of 14 women by Marc Lepine, known as the Montreal Massacre. At a gathering at University of Toronto, Fric-Shamji’s name was expected to be among the women whose lives were memorialized.
Shamji was arrested in a Mississauga coffee shop Friday. He remains in custody until a bail hearing later this month.