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News Release

SIU Concludes Injuries Investigation in Essex

Case Number: 12-PCI-314

Mississauga (28 March, 2013) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer with the Essex detachment with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by 50-year-old Roger Sabourin in October of 2012.

The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, five witness officers and eight civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer declined to be interviewed by the SIU and did not submit his duty notes, as is his legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Sunday, October 28:
• At approximately 2:30 a.m., the subject officer noticed a Dodge Caravan parked on Wilson Avenue in the Town of Essex. The officer observed a male, now known to be Mr. Sabourin, inside the vehicle. When the officer approached the vehicle to investigate further, he observed that Mr. Sabourin was no longer in the driver’s seat but in the back of the van. As the officer opened the door on one side of the van, Mr. Sabourin fled out the door on the other side of the van.
• The officer pursued Mr. Sabourin on foot for a short distance before returning to his cruiser. He then went to the address of the registered vehicle owner.
• Mr. Sabourin answered the door. The subject officer arrested him for care and control of a motor vehicle while his ability to drive was impaired by alcohol. Mr. Sabourin resisted his arrest, prompting the subject officer to strike Mr. Sabourin several times in the face and neck.
• Mr. Sabourin was placed in the back seat of a cruiser by another officer. An ambulance attended and transported him to Leamington District Hospital where he was diagnosed with facial fractures.

Director Scott said, “The subject officer had reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Sabourin had care and control of his motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and accordingly the right to demand a breath sample. He therefore had the lawful authority to arrest him. In my view, there probably was a struggle on the ground in which the subject officer applied force and caused this serious injury. However, given the level of resistance by the complainant, I cannot conclude that the force used was excessive in the circumstances of this case.”

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