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News Release

SIU Concludes Injury Investigation in Pembroke

Case Number: 13-PCI-315

Mississauga (29 July, 2014) ---
The Acting Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Joseph Martino, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Upper Ottawa Valley detachment, with a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 39-year-old man in December of 2013.

The SIU assigned three 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. The subject officer consented to an interview with the SIU and provided his notes. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Wednesday, December 25, 2013:
  • On the evening of the day in question, the subject officer and two witness officers attended a unit in an apartment complex on McKay Street to make an arrest in relation to a domestic matter.  
  • Present at the time in the unit were the resident of the apartment and two of his acquaintances, one of whom was wanted in relation to the domestic matter and the other, who eventually came to be injured (the “complainant”). 
  • The three men had been drinking and had gathered at the apartment to celebrate Christmas. 
  • The officers moved in to take custody of the man involved in the domestic matter and, following a brief struggle, managed to secure him in handcuffs.  
  • The subject officer was just getting up from his struggle with the man on the ground when the complainant approached and hit him in the head with his right hand.  
  • The subject officer told the complainant he was under arrest for assault and took hold of the complainant’s right arm.  
  • The complainant adopted an aggressive posture.  The subject officer noticed that the complainant was holding a beer bottle in his left hand and, fearing that the complainant was about to strike him with it, punched the complainant’s face with two left jabs.  
  • The officer then grounded the complainant and handcuffed him.  Standing the complainant up, the subject officer noticed there was blood on his face. 
  • The complainant was taken to hospital for treatment and was released.

Acting Director Martino concluded, “I am satisfied that it would be unreasonable to proceed with charges in this case.  The subject officer had just been involved in a physical struggle with another man attempting to effect his arrest.  The officers were in a confined space surrounded by men who had been drinking.  In these circumstances, confronted by a man holding a beer bottle who had just taken a swing at him, one can understand the threat the subject officer perceived and the need the officer felt to take immediate and decisive action to subdue the complainant.  In the heat of the moment, I am satisfied that the force used by the officer did not run afoul of the latitude prescribed by the criminal law.  Accordingly, whether pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code (authorizing the use of force in the execution of an officer’s duty) or section 34 of the Code (authorizing force used in self-defence), the subject officer’s use of force was legally justified, notwithstanding the fact that the officer appears to have broken the complainant’s orbital bone in the process.”   

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