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News Release

SIU Concludes Owen Sound Investigation

Case Number: 05-OCD-041

TORONTO (6 October, 2005) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has found there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an Owen Sound Police Service (OSPS) officer is criminally liable in the death of Mark Orser.

Mr. Orser died on April 4, 2005, after he was arrested by OSPS officers and lodged in a cell at police headquarters.

Six SIU investigators were assigned to determine the nature and extent of police involvement in Mr. Orser's death. The investigation found that on April 1, 2005, Mr. Orser was taken to a detoxification centre where he remained until April 3rd. On that date, he did not abide by the centre's rules and a worker called the OSPS to have him removed. At about 6:00 p.m., two officers arrived and arrested Mr. Orser on an outstanding criminal warrant. He was brought to the police station and lodged in a cell monitored by a video camera.

OSPS personnel routinely monitored Mr. Orser throughout the evening. At about 1:12 a.m. on April 4th, an officer examined Mr. Orser and found him apparently asleep and breathing normally. At 1:35 a.m., an officer checked on him again and found him to be unresponsive and breathless.

The police worked to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived. Mr. Orser was rushed to a nearby hospital where he died a short time later.

Director Cornish concluded there was no want of care on the part of the OSPS in their monitoring of Mr. Orser while he was in their care, custody and control. He stated, "The case was delayed while we awaited Mr. Orser's post mortem examination report. There were no definitive results in respect of what caused his death but the evidence satisfies me that no officer caused or contributed to his death."

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. 

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