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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Injuries Sustained by Pedestrian in Toronto

Case Number: 14-TVI-221

Mississauga (9 February, 2015) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Tony Loparco, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Toronto Police Service (TPS) officer with any criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by a 25-year-old woman in September of 2014.

The SIU assigned five investigators, three forensic investigators and one collision reconstructionist to probe the circumstances of this incident. As part of the investigation, four civilian witnesses were interviewed. In addition, investigators reviewed the Automated Vehicle Locating System (AVL) data and the TPS in-car camera recording. The subject officer provided a copy of his duty notes, but did not consent to an interview with the SIU, as is his legal right. 

The SIU investigation found that the following events took place the morning of Friday, September 26, 2014:

  • The subject officer, who had been driving southbound on Redpath Avenue, stopped his cruiser in the intersection of Redpath Avenue and Broadway Avenue to await an opportunity to turn left onto Broadway Avenue;
  • Meanwhile, a 25-year-old woman was walking northbound with her dog in the east crosswalk of the Redpath/Broadway Avenue intersection;
  • The subject officer turned left and struck the woman with his cruiser;
  • The woman was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for treatment of serious injuries.

Director Loparco said, “The accident is clearly and singularly attributable to the officer’s failure to ensure he could complete his left turn in safety, as was his legal duty under the Highway Traffic Act. The question I had to consider was whether this conduct also resulted in criminal liability.

“The criminal offence that I considered in the context of this case was the offence of dangerous driving causing bodily harm (section 249 of the Criminal Code). In order to find that I have reasonable grounds to lay a charge, I must reasonably believe that the impugned driving amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances.” 

Director Loparco continued, “Other than the collision itself, I was unable to find fault with any other aspect of the officer’s driving in connection with this incident. For instance, the AVL data indicated that the officer was travelling at 31 km/h on Redpath Avenue (a 40 km/h zone). Statements made by civilian witnesses indicate that the officer had come to a full stop at the intersection of Redpath Avenue and Broadway Avenue. They also indicated that he had used his left turn indicator signal and proceeded at a speed of between 10 km/h to 20 km/h on the turn. Witnesses referred to the conditions as being very sunny and opined that the sun being in the officer’s eyes would have interfered with the officer’s ability to see the woman. Their statements and the notebook entries of the officer also jibe with video taken by SIU investigators who tried to simulate the conditions at the same location and time of day. The video, in the opinion of investigators, demonstrated that the sun’s glare could have partially or fully obscured the officer’s ability to spot a pedestrian crossing in that area.”

Director Loparco added, “That being said, in circumstances where the sun’s glare affected his ability to observe the entire intersection, it was incumbent on the officer to proceed with great caution as he made his left turn onto Broadway Avenue. It is apparent that he did not do so with enough caution. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear that a momentary lapse of judgment and attention of this nature will rarely amount to a marked departure for purposes of criminal liability. I am satisfied that the officer’s conduct falls short of a marked departure from the standard of care of the reasonable person in the same circumstances and that there is no basis to proceed with criminal charges in 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, monica.hudon@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342