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News Release

SIU Concludes Hamilton Falling Deaths Investigation

Case Number: 12-OCD-172

Mississauga (22 June, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) with any criminal offence in relation to the deaths of 17-year-old Alexander McCormack and 17-year-old Irn Mace this past weekend.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  Eleven civilian witnesses were interviewed, and the subject officer submitted to an interview with the SIU and provided a copy of his duty notes.  Investigators photographed and videotaped the scene and surrounding area, attended both autopsies, examined communications recordings and obtained suicide notes left by the young men. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, June 16: 
• In the early hours, the young men went to the Arkledun Avenue overpass which overlooks a large gorge referred to as the ‘Jolley Cut’. 
• At 5:30 a.m., the subject officer reported off duty and headed home.  He drove up the Claremont Access and saw the two youths standing on the overpass.  One was sitting atop the railing and the other was standing against it with his forearms draped over the top.  The subject officer reported his findings to a HPS dispatcher, drove to the top of the mountain, and then returned to the overpass due to concern for the youths’ safety.  They were now standing in a safer position and he continued on.  He then turned around to go back up the mountain to return home.  This time, he noticed the young men were both straddling the railing with their hands behind their backs.  He stopped his vehicle, and both young men quickly climbed down from the railing and apologized to him.  The subject officer had a brief conversation with them, stressing that what they were doing was unsafe.  The boys apologized again, and then walked away as the officer watched.  He left the scene.
• At 6:20 a.m., a passerby walking over the Arkledun Avenue overpass noticed two bodies lying in the gorge and reported his observations to the authorities.  The bodies were removed from the scene and transported to Hamilton General Hospital where a post-mortem examination was conducted two days later.  The presiding pathologist determined the cause of death for both men to be blunt force trauma due to descent from height.

Director Scott said, “On the basis of this investigation, there is simply no credible information that the subject officer was in any way responsible for the deaths of Mr. McCormack and Mr. Mace.  On the contrary, in his off-duty capacity, he was attempting to avert what he very reasonably perceived to be a potential accident or misadventure.  Unfortunately, the young men appeared to have a prearranged plan to commit suicide, a plan they tragically fulfilled shortly after the subject officer left the area.”   

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,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342