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News Release

SIU Concludes Death Investigation in St. Catharines

Case Number: 12-OCD-307

Mississauga (30 November, 2012) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge two Niagara Regional Police Service officers with any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 28-year-old woman in October of 2012.

The SIU assigned four investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and three civilian witnesses were interviewed. Both subject officers declined the SIU’s invitation to provide a statement or to provide a copy of their duty notes, as is their legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, October 24:
• In the early morning hours, the subject officers were dispatched to a residence on St. Paul Street West to deal with a domestic dispute.  Officers received information that a man had been assaulted by his girlfriend, and that the woman was hurting herself with a knife. 
• The officers met the boyfriend in the apartment hallway and were granted access to the apartment.  They saw the woman with a knife, and yelled at her to drop it.  Instead of complying with their commands, she plunged the knife into the right side of her neck.  The subject officers took her to the ground and applied pressure to the neck wound.  She was transported by ambulance to St. Catharines Hospital and then to Hamilton General Hospital where she died on October 28. 

A post-mortem examination concluded the woman died of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy as a result of a partially severed right carotid artery.

Director Scott said, “In my view, the woman’s death was a tragic event in which the police officers did nothing wrong.  Quite the opposite, they attempted to save her life after she stabbed herself by applying pressure to the wound and seeking immediate aid.  Unfortunately, she died as a result of the self-inflicted knife wound four days later due to no fault of the officers who were initially dispatched to the call.”  

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