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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation due to Toronto Police Service’s Refusal to Disclose Complainant’s Statement

Case Number: 12-TCI-294

Mississauga (2 January, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has decided to close an investigation into the injuries sustained by 27-year-old Tyrone Phillips in July of 2012.

Here are some key dates:
• In the early morning hours of July 28, Mr. Phillips is arrested outside a nightclub by officers with the Toronto Police Service (TPS).
• After two trips to the hospital where Mr. Phillips was diagnosed with a concussion, he files a complaint on August 8 with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), saying that he was beaten into unconsciousness during the arrest.
• On September 19, the OIPRD refers the complaint to the TPS for an investigation.
• After reviewing the file, the TPS refers the complaint to the SIU on October 12 due to the reportedly serious nature of Mr. Phillips’ injuries.

Director Scott said, “I am of the view that I cannot conduct an adequate investigation into this incident. As part of the SIU investigation, investigators requested relevant documents from the TPS and designated five witness officers and one subject officer. One of the requested documents was a copy of the original complaint submitted by Mr. Phillips, now in the possession of the TPS. Mr. Phillips had not kept a copy when he completed the complaint online and emailed it to the OIPRD. The TPS declined to provide a copy of the complaint to the SIU, claiming it was a third party record. The SIU approached the OIPRD and requested a copy of its complaint in this matter and it too declined to produce a copy of the complaint to the Unit; the OIPRD has a policy of only sharing information with the affected police service. 

“As a result of this refusal, the SIU asked Mr. Phillips to sign a consent form authorizing release of a copy of his complaint in the possession of the TPS. He agreed and the SIU forwarded a copy of the signed consent to the TPS. Again, the service declined to provide the SIU with a copy of the complainant’s original statement.

“In the meantime, the SIU continued its investigation, interviewing various civilian and police witnesses. On November 7, 2012, SIU investigators conducted an interview of the subject officer who had voluntarily agreed to provide a statement with his lawyer in attendance. It was obvious from that interview that the subject officer was provided with a copy of Mr. Phillips’ statement prior to the SIU interview.

“In my view, the refusal of the TPS to provide the SIU with a copy of the complainant’s statement has impeded the Unit’s ability to conduct an adequate investigation into this incident, and may be a breach of Toronto Police Service’s duty to fully co-operate with the Unit. It is clear that the TPS has a copy of the complainant’s statement, and has provided a copy of it to the subject officer. It is equally clear that the TPS refuses to provide a copy to the SIU even though the complainant has consented to its release. This has led to the almost comical situation of the SIU as the designated lead investigative agency under the Police Services Act not having a copy of a material statement when the policing agency under investigation and the subject officer do have a copy. As a result of the TPS’s refusal to provide a copy of the complainant’s statement to the SIU, I am closing this investigation.  If the TPS chooses to provide that statement to the SIU at a later date, the Unit will reopen and complete its investigation into this matter.”       

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