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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Scarborough Motor Vehicle Injury

Case Number: 13-PVI-173

Mississauga (20 November, 2014) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Toronto Detachment, with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 23- year-old man in July of last year. 

The SIU assigned ten investigators, two forensic investigators and a collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, 11 witness officers and seven civilian witnesses were interviewed. The subject officer was also interviewed but did not provide his notes, as is his legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place on Monday, July 22, 2013:
  • At approximately 11:45 p.m., the man was on his motorcycle and stopped at a red light facing southbound on Kennedy Street just south of the Highway 401 overpass. 
  • The subject officer pulled into the intersection in front of the motorcycle and blocked the man’s path with his cruiser. 
  • The officer exited the cruiser and was walking around the trunk of his cruiser when the man drove around the cruiser and continued southbound down the roadway. 
  • The subject officer re-entered his cruiser and set off in pursuit.  
  • The pursuit proceeded down Kennedy Road and ended when the man’s motorcycle collided with another southbound vehicle south of Eglinton Avenue near Foxridge Drive.  
  • The man was thrown from the motorcycle and suffered a fractured spine. 
  • The subject officer arrived shortly thereafter and placed the man in handcuffs. 
  • The man was transported by ambulance to hospital for treatment of his injury. 

Director Loparco concluded, “I am satisfied that the subject officer had grounds to stop the man and, thereafter, to commence a pursuit when he took flight down Kennedy Road.  The subject officer had observed the motorcyclist proceeding south under the Highway 401 overpass travelling in excess of 100 km/h and weaving in and out of traffic.  Furthermore, pursuant to section 216 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA), a motorist is obliged to stop his vehicle when directed to do so by an officer engaged in the lawful execution of his or her duty.   Consequently, whether on the basis of an apprehended criminal offence such as dangerous driving, an apparent violation of the HTA, or a combination of both, it appears the officer’s engagement with the man was legally justified.”   

Director Loparco continued, “The provisions that arise for consideration in this as in most pursuit cases are dangerous driving and criminal negligence.  Liability in either case is premised on a finding that the conduct amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances.  The subject officer’s average speed south of Lawrence Avenue East, constituting the greater portion of the pursuit, appears to have been in the neighbourhood of 115 km/h. His failure to discontinue the pursuit notwithstanding the fact he was engaged with a motorcyclist over an extended distance at high speeds is mitigated by the fact that the senior officers supervising the pursuit over the radio made no such order until after the collision occurred.  The evidence indicates that the officer informed the communications centre at an early point that he was pursuing a motorcycle.  As for the environmental conditions at the time, the roadway was dry, the weather was clear and there appears to have been little traffic at the time.  It should also be noted that the officer had his emergency lights and siren on as the vehicles sped south on Kennedy Road.  While the pursuit may have been ill-advised, I am not satisfied that the officer’s conduct transgressed the limits prescribed by the criminal law.”

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