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News Release

SIU Concludes Injury Investigation in Guelph

Case Number: 13-OCI-263

Mississauga (25 April, 2014) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Guelph Police Service officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 35-year-old man in November of 2013.

The SIU assigned four investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, three witness officers and two civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU but declined to provide her notes, as is her legal right.

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Tuesday, November 5, 2013:

  • At approximately 2:28 a.m., the subject officer observed the man walking along Wyndham Street North, in Guelph.  He appeared to be unsteady on his feet and was preparing to urinate near an entranceway to a business. 
  • In speaking with the man, the subject officer noted that his speech was slurred and he had difficulty retrieving his licence from his wallet. Concerned for his well-being, the officer took the man into custody under the Liquor Licence Act
  • He was brought to the police station and while still handcuffed was seated on a bench in the booking area.
  • As the subject officer was completing paperwork in relation to the arrest, the man slumped forward and fell to the ground, causing his leg to be twisted beneath him which resulted in a leg injury. 
  • The man was taken to hospital for treatment.

Director Loparco said, “It would appear that the man’s intoxication is to blame for his injury; he simply lost his balance and, unable to right himself, slumped forward.  With respect to the subject officer’s duty to ensure the man’s safety during his period in custody, the law is clear—a breach of duty will not attract criminal sanction unless it constitutes a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances.  In this case, it is clear from video recorded by cameras inside the police station that the man was not stumbling or falling over himself during the trip to the booking area. To be sure, he appears unsteady but he does manage to make it to the booking room under his own power. A short time later, having given no prior indication that he might fall from a seated position, the man took his tumble.  Having viewed the booking room recording, I am satisfied that none of the officers present in the room at the time had an opportunity to intervene and stop the fall and that the subject officer’s actions do not amount to the requisite marked departure for me to lay a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.”

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. 

Jasbir Dhillon,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342