News Release

SIU Concludes Barrie Vehicle Injuries Investigation

Case Number: 12-OVI-241

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SIU Investigates Motor Vehicle Injuries in Barrie

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Mississauga (14 September, 2012) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Barrie Police Service (BPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 44-year-old Albert Wayne Penfield in August of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident.  In addition, four witness officers and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed.  The subject officer submitted to an SIU interview and provided a copy of his duty notes. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Tuesday, August 21:
• At approximately 4:30 p.m., the subject officer was on duty and proceeding southbound on Bradford Street intending to make a left turn onto Victoria Street.  He maneuvered into the left turn lane and proceeded into the intersection just as the traffic control signal turned amber.  A motorist proceeding northbound in the centre lane at the same time noticed the officer waiting to make a left turn and brought her vehicle to a stop.  Believing the way was clear, the officer began his left-hand turn.  He had just about cleared the intersection when a motorcyclist, Mr. Penfield, proceeded northbound into the intersection in the curb lane of Victoria Street and struck the right rear passenger side of the cruiser. 
• Mr. Penfield was taken to the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for treatment of internal injuries and pelvic injuries. 

Acting Director Martino said, “It is not certain what colour the traffic signal was for Mr. Penfield when he entered the intersection.  The evidence indicates it was at least amber, and could very likely have been red.  Either way, I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officer’s conduct falls well short of a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances – the standard prescribed by the criminal law.  There is no indication that the officer’s driving was in any way substandard prior to the collision.  It simply appears that he did not observe the motorcycle entering the intersection and was surprised when it collided with the back end of his cruiser.  While the officer had a duty to ensure he could make his left turn in safety, his lapse of care, if it be such, appears to have been singular.  Weighed in the context of the circumstances in their totality, it fell short of transgressing the limits imposed by the criminal law.”

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

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