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News Release

SIU Concludes Niagara Region Vehicle Injury Investigation

Case Number: 12-OVI-200

Mississauga (27 July, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 62-year-old woman in July of 2012.

The SIU assigned five investigators, four forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident.  In addition, one witness officer and eleven civilian witnesses were interviewed.  As is his legal right, the subject officer declined to be interviewed by the SIU and did not provide his duty notes. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Thursday, July 12:
• In the early evening of that day, the subject officer was dispatched to a fire call at the Marineland complex.  He activated his emergency equipment and proceeded southbound on Stanley Avenue. 
• As the officer approached the Stanley Avenue and Highway 420 intersection, the traffic lights were red in his direction.  He slowed down, but did not come to a full stop, before proceeding slowly into the intersection.  The forensic investigation disclosed that the subject officer’s cruiser entered the intersection at 20 km/hr.
• At the same time, a Dodge Caravan – in which the injured woman was a front seat passenger – was proceeding in an eastbound direction along Highway 420.  The vehicle entered the intersection at normal speed with the traffic lights in its favour.
• The NRPS vehicle driven by the subject officer struck the driver’s side of the van, causing it to spin around and the airbags to deploy. 
• The impact caused the front seat passenger in the Caravan to sustain a compound fracture of her right arm.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the actions of the subject officer do not amount to the offence of dangerous driving as defined by the Criminal Code and related case law.  He significantly decreased his speed as he entered the intersection against the red traffic signal.  It was not a marked departure from the standard of care expected of a police officer responding to an emergency call with his emergency equipment activated to enter the intersection without coming to a full stop.  The Supreme Court of Canada in the recent decision of R. v. Roy made it clear that the standard of a marked departure is high.”

Director Scott further commented, “While the Highway Traffic Act permits police officers in police cruisers acting in the lawful execution of their duties to enter an intersection against a red light, it states that the driver must first stop and then enter when it is safe to do so.  Accordingly, while I cannot form reasonable grounds that the subject officer’s driving was dangerous as defined by the Criminal Code,  I will be suggesting to the chief that he consider charging the subject officer with the offence of failing to stop at a red light pursuant to s. 144(18) of the Highway Traffic Act.”

The SIU is an independent civilian 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