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News Release

SIU Concludes Hamilton Vehicle Injuries Investigation

Case Number: 13-OVI-224

Mississauga (21 November, 2013) --- The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any Hamilton Police Service officer with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by two men in September of 2013.

The SIU assigned three investigators, two forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, one witness officer and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed. Both subject officers consented to an interview with the SIU and submitted a copy of their duty notes.  

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Saturday, September 7, 2013:
• At approximately 10:30 p.m., one of the subject officers was on patrol in a marked cruiser when he observed a Honda disobeying a stop sign and squealing its tires in the area of Hess Street North and Napier Street. The officer began to follow the vehicle, and then activated his emergency equipment and pursued it when it again disregarded a stop sign turning right from Napier Street onto southbound Caroline Street North. The 33-year-old Honda driver temporarily stopped his vehicle before accelerating away, with the officer still in pursuit. 
• The pursuit continued eastbound on Main Street West where it was joined by the second subject officer. The first officer overtook the Honda and slowed in front of it, forcing it to stop. The officer exited his cruiser and rushed toward the Honda, but the man reversed quickly and resumed his flight southbound on McNab Street South. The second officer was now the lead car in pursuit.  The first officer returned to his vehicle and resumed his pursuit, but he had since lost sight of the Honda and the other cruiser.
• Shortly after, both officers terminated the pursuit after receiving instructions from a supervisor.
• Meanwhile, the Honda driver continued to drive southbound on Hess Street, blew a stop sign and collided with a Kia traveling eastbound on Herkimer Street. The impact caused the Kia to careen into a bus shelter on the southeast corner of the intersection. A bystander in the area of the shelter, 50-year-old Stephen Hayes, suffered serious injury in the process.
• The driver of the Honda suffered serious head and neck injuries.     

Acting Director Martino said, “I am satisfied on reasonable grounds that the officers’ conduct throughout this chain of events did not transgress the criminal law. Put differently, there is nothing in the officers’ conduct that approaches a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstance – the key criminal liability test in these cases. Each officer had his emergency lights on during the pursuit. They exceeded the speed limit at points, but officers are entitled to speed in the discharge of their duty. It should also be noted that their top speeds of low to mid-70 km/h were far from extreme, particularly when one considers the small amount of traffic on the road at the time in question. The pursuit itself was relatively moderate in duration and distance. As well, it was promptly terminated as soon as a supervisor, monitoring the pursuit from the station, determined that public safety considerations had tipped the balance in favour of discontinuing the pursuit. While the officers may have prompted or fueled the reckless driving of the Honda driver as he attempted to escape police custody, they gave him a reasonable opportunity to desist, particularly as the pursuit moved southbound down Hess Street. The Honda driver alone is to blame for causing himself and an innocent bystander serious bodily harm in the collision that ensued.”

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