SIU Concludes Investigation into Fatal Balcony Fall
Case Number: 08-OCD-125
Other News Releases Related to Case 08-OCD-125
"In my view, concluded the Director of the SIU, James Cornish, "there was nothing that the officers did or failed to do that caused this tragic loss of life."
At approximately 6:35 p.m., officers responded to the apartment building at 30 Elm Drive East in the Burnhamthorpe Road/Highway 10 area after an emotionally distraught and depressed woman called the police communications centre indicating that she was going to take her own life. "The operator tried to distract, calm and otherwise delay the woman," said Mr. Cornish, " as the officers below attempted to first secure the scene and then devise a plan as how to establish communication with this woman in proximity to her without precipitating any decision on her part that may be fatal."
Within six minutes of their arrival and before the officers could plan any intervention by attempting to gain access to her apartment, the woman hung herself over the balcony, let go of or lost her grip and fell 22.7 metres (75 feet) to her death. .
The SIU assigned three field investigators and four forensic investigators, who interviewed police officers, civilians, paramedics and hospital medical staff, and reviewed the police dispatching records and the police communications tape detailing the 15-minute effort by the civilian dispatcher to prevent the tragic outcome.
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.