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News Release

Special Investigations Unit Comments on Ontario Court of Appeal Decision in Peel (Police) v. Ontario (Special Investigations Unit)

Case Number: Peel v SIU

Mississauga (7 May, 2012) --- Today, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Peel (Police) v. Ontario (Special Investigations Unit).  It confirmed an earlier Superior Court of Justice ruling that the SIU has jurisdiction to investigate alleged criminal acts committed by individuals who were serving police officers at the time of the acts, whether they are now retired or not.  In addition, the Court affirmed that the SIU has the authority to investigate incidents that happened prior to the SIU’s formation in 1990. 

By way of background, in 2010, the Peel Regional Police Service (PRPS) sought a court declaration preventing the SIU from continuing its investigation of a sexual assault complaint made by a woman alleging that she was sexually assaulted by a PRPS officer some years prior to the formation of the SIU in 1990.  The PRPS refused to cooperate with the SIU’s investigation of the complaint, asserting that the matter did not fall within the SIU’s mandate because it occurred prior to the establishment of the SIU and because the subject of the complaint had since retired as a police officer.  The PRPS brought an application seeking a court declaration to that effect and seeking to prevent the investigation of the sexual assault complaint by the SIU.  On February 11, 2011, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the SIU did in fact have the jurisdiction to investigate incidents that occurred before the Unit came into existence and incidents involving retired police officers.  The PRPS appealed that decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal, which released its decision today. 

With respect to today’s decision, SIU Director Ian Scott commented, “The Ontario Court of Appeal decision makes it clear that police officers cannot escape the jurisdiction of the SIU by resigning or retiring.  We look forward to hearing from Peel Regional Police with respect to whether it will be seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.  As soon as Acting Chief Paul Tetzlaff tells us he does not intend to appeal, the SIU will recommence its investigation of this historical sexual assault allegation involving a retired Peel Regional police officer.”

The decision can be found on the Ontario Court of Appeal website.

The SIU is an arm’s length agency that investigates reports involving police where there has been death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault. Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether an officer has committed a criminal offence  in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, lay a criminal charge against the officer if appropriate or close the file without any charges being laid
  • report the results of any investigations to the Attorney General. 

Monica Hudon, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342