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SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-OCI-282

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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving police officers where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. The Unit’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.

Information Restrictions

Freedom of Information and Protection of Personal Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)

Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
  • Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding. 
Pursuant to section 21 of FIPPA (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this document. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
  • Subject Officer name(s);
  • Witness Officer name(s);
  • Civilian Witness name(s);
  • Location information; 
  • Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and 
  • Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.


Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)

Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.

Other proceedings, processes, and investigations

Information may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.

Mandate Engaged

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents where there is a serious injury (including sexual assault allegations) or death in cases involving the police.

“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.

This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into serious injuries sustained by a 51-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On September 19, 2018, at 10:45 p.m., the York Regional Police (YRP) notified the SIU of the serious injuries sustained by the Complainant during a traffic stop on Weston Road that occurred earlier that evening. The YRP reported that at 7:15 p.m., the Complainant was operating her Harley Davidson motorcycle southbound on Weston Road near Laskay Lane and entered a radar enforced zone at a speed over the posted limit of 50 km/h. A traffic police officer moved onto the roadway from his concealed location and motioned for the Complainant to stop. The Complainant applied her brakes and lost control of the motorcycle and was ejected. She suffered a broken finger and a slight shoulder fracture as a result of the fall.

The Team

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

Complainant:

51-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed


Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed 

Witness Officers

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed


Subject Officers

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right


Evidence

The Scene

The scene

Materials obtained from Police Service

Upon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the YRP:
  • Call Summary;
  • Detailed Call Summary;
  • General Occurrence Report (Complaint Area Online Submission);
  • MVC Report;
  • Notes of the witness officers;
  • Officer Activity Browser for WO #1;
  • Procedure -Operation of Speed Measuring Devices;
  • Procedure -Traffic Management, Enforcement and Road Safety;
  • Roadwatch Report (August 2018);
  • YRP Email regarding Speed Measuring Device on Laskay Lane; and
  • YRP Email regarding Truck Speeding on Weston Road.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are evident on the information collected by the SIU, which included statements from the Complainant as well as a witness officer who was on scene at the time and a civilian witness who observed portions of the accident. At about 7:15 p.m., the Complainant was operating her motorcycle southbound on Weston Road approaching Laskay Lane in King City. The weather was clear, the road was dry and in good condition, and visibility was good. The Complainant was traveling in excess of the posted 50 km/h speed limit in that area as she descended down the hill that forms a valley at the Laskay Lane intersection before the road rises again after Laskay Lane. The SO was positioned at the southeast corner of Weston Road and Laskay Lane performing speed enforcement. He clocked the Complainant travelling at 82 km/h and decided to pull her over for a speeding infraction. The officer walked onto Weston Road in a northwest direction toward the Complainant. The Complainant applied her front brake, which resulted in the Complainant being thrown from the vehicle over the handlebars and landing on the roadway on her left side. The Complainant rolled a few times before coming to a stop. Her motorcycle slid past her for several metres before coming to rest.

The SO and his partner, WO #1, rushed to render assistance to the Complainant. Paramedics and firefighters attended the scene, and the Complainant was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with a fractured shoulder and a finger injury.

Relevant Legislation

Section 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years

Analysis and Director's Decision

The Complainant was injured when she fell off her motorcycle in the evening of September 19, 2018. The fall was occasioned by a loss of control of the vehicle, precipitated, it seems, by a YRP officer who was signaling the Complainant to pull over for a speeding infraction. The officer in question was the SO. For the reasons that follow, I am satisfied there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s injuries.

The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 of the Criminal Code. The offence is predicated, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked and substantial departure from a reasonable level of care in the circumstances. I find very little in the conduct of the subject officer of which to be critical. He was lawfully in the area conducting speed enforcement in response to complaints from residents nearby of vehicular traffic exceeding the speed limit. The Complainant was in fact travelling in excess of the posted 50 km/h speed limit. The SO was within his rights in seeking to stop the Complainant to issue her a speeding ticket. As he had done on previous occasions that very same day, the SO walked out on the roadway to make himself visible while directing the subject vehicle to pull over and come to a stop. Regrettably, the Complainant reacted by singularly applying the front wheel brake which, owing to her momentum coming down the hill at the speed she was traveling, resulted in a loss of control and the Complainant falling onto the roadway. While it appears that the Complainant was well north of the subject officer when the accident occurred and had every opportunity to bring her motorcycle to a safe stop, it did not help matters that the SO, against police policy, was not wearing his reflective vest at the time. Had he, it is reasonable to speculate that the Complainant might have had greater time to react to his presence. Be that as it may, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officer’s conduct fell well-within the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Consequently, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case and the file is closed.


Date: August 26, 2019

Original signed by

Joseph Martino
Interim Director
Special Investigations Unit