News Release

Niagara Regional Police Officer Charged

Case Number: 12-OCI-136   

Other News Releases Related to Case 12-OCI-136

SIU Appeals for Witnesses to Interaction with Police in Niagara Falls

Mississauga (19 June, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has reasonable grounds to believe that an officer with the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) committed a criminal offence in relation to injuries sustained by 31-year-old Michael Farkas in May of 2012.  Director Scott has caused a charge to be laid against the officer.   

At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, 2012, NRPS officers arrived at the Kool Katts Caribbean Restaurant at 6383 Drummond Road to investigate a noise complaint.  Mr. Farkas, who was working that night as a paid photographer, began taking pictures of what has happening.  He followed the officers out of the building.  There was an interaction between some of the officers and Mr. Farkas, and as a result he sustained serious injuries.  He was lodged in a cell overnight and released in the morning.  Later that day, he went to hospital where he was diagnosed with a broken nose, fractured orbital bone and fractured cheekbone. 

As a result of the SIU investigation, NRPS Constable Paul Zarafonitis is facing one charge of Assault Causing Bodily Harm, contrary to s. 267(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada. 

The officer is required to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 59 Church Street in St. Catharines on August 1, 2012.  The Justice Prosecutions branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General will have carriage of the prosecution.

As this matter is now before the courts, and in consideration of the fair trial interests of the charged officer and the community, the SIU will make no further comment pertaining to this investigation. 

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations