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News Release

SIU Concludes Barrie Death Investigation

Case Number: 12-PCD-240

Mississauga (14 November, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Barrie Detachment with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 58-year-old man in August of 2012.

The SIU assigned two investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  As part of the investigation, three witness officers and four civilian witnesses were interviewed.  Both subject officers provided their duty notes and a statement to the SIU.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, August 18:
• In the afternoon hours, the man was arrested for impaired driving and transported to the Barrie detachment where he was lodged in a cell.  Both subject officers were in command positions at the detachment while the man spent time in the cells. 
• The cell was monitored throughout the night, and the man was observed vomiting a number of times.  However, no-one considered this to be unusual for someone who is lodged in a cell on an impaired driving charge. 
• The morning of August 19, the man was driven to his home.  He did not complain about his medical condition nor showed signs of medical problems. 
• Later that day, a friend of the man found him in a state of medical distress.  He was transported to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed as suffering from septic pneumonia and pulmonary disease. 
• He died two days later.

The post-mortem did not disclose any trauma to the body.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the subject officers did nothing wrong in relation to this incident.  While they have a legal duty to care for those in their custody, they and the staff had no idea that the man was so acutely ill.  As a result, even though they were indirectly aware that he was vomiting a number of times during the night, they reasonably in my view did not call for medical intervention because it is not unusual for those arrested for impaired driving to engage in this activity.  Accordingly, no criminal liability may attach to their acts or omissions.”

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