SIU Director’s Report - Case # 18-OCI-281
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Mandate of the SIU
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.
Freedom of Information and Protection of 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.
- 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 investigationsInformation 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.
“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 75-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn September 17, 2018, at 6:29 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) notified the SIU of their involvement in an injury to the Complainant. On September 17, 2018, at approximately 1:40 p.m., the Complainant was southbound on St. Laurent Boulevard in the city of Ottawa. At the time, he was operating his E-Bike and was alone. When he arrived at the intersection of St. Laurent Boulevard and Donald Street, he was directed to stop by a uniform member of the OPS who was in the middle of the intersection, directing traffic. The police officer was present because of work that was underway on the traffic signals.
A short time later, the Complainant and other southbound drivers were directed by the police officer to continue through the intersection and continue southbound. As he approached the midpoint of the intersection, the Complainant was struck on his right side by a motor vehicle that entered the intersection traveling eastbound on Donald Street.
As a result of the collision, the Complainant suffered serious injuries that required hospitalization and subsequent surgery.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:75-year-old male interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #1 and WO #2 were designated for their notes only. A review of their notes indicated that neither was present when the collision occurred.
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The SceneSt. Laurent Boulevard consists of multiple lanes for north and southbound traffic. Donald Street consists of multiple lanes for east and westbound traffic. It was Monday and noon hour traffic was heavy. Congestion on both roads was exacerbated by the ongoing traffic light repairs.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the OPS:
- Civilian Witness List;
- Detailed Call Summary;
- Investigative Action-WO #1 and WO #2;
- MVC Report;
- Notes of all witness officers and the subject officer;
- Person Hardcopy – the Complainant; and
- Witness Statement of CW #1, CW #2 and three additional civilian witnesses.
Sections 219 and 221, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Analysis and Director's Decision
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 the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. There is no indication that the SO, or either of the two other paid-duty OPS officers who were assisting with traffic control through the intersection that day, had been anything other than careful in their duties prior to the collision. And other motorists at the intersection, but for the driver of the vehicle that struck the Complainant, all seemed to have been aware of what was going on at the time, namely, that east and west traffic had been directed to stop to allow south and north traffic to proceed. The evidence does suggest that the SO had his back to the eastbound lanes of traffic at the time and therefore did not see the vehicle as it approached and entered the intersection; it seems he was busy controlling traffic in other directions at the time. Might the SO have done more to prevent the flow of eastbound traffic? Perhaps, but he was also entitled to expect that approaching motorists would notice the traffic signals were not functioning and pay heed to the officer directing traffic in the intersection. On this record, there are no reasonable grounds to conclude that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, as there are no grounds to proceed with criminal charges in this matter, the file is closed.
Date: September 6, 2019
Original signed by
Special Investigations Unit
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.