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News Release

Injury Sustained During Suicide Attempt in Cell; SIU Terminates Hamilton Investigation

Case Number: 19-OCI-085

Mississauga, ON (24 May, 2019) ---
The Interim Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has terminated the investigation into the serious injury sustained by a 30-year-old man last month in Hamilton.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 22, 2019, Hamilton Police Service (HPS) officers arrested the man in the area of Barton Street East and Wentworth Street North. Officers transported the man to the Central Station and he was lodged in a cell. At approximately 5:15 a.m., the man ripped a portion of a bed sheet, fashioned a rope out of it and placed it around his neck. An HPS officer heard a noise come from the man’s cell and noticed the man was hanging himself. Officers opened the cell door and cut the man down. The man was revived and transported to hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured bone in his neck.           

Interim Director Martino said, “Based on the SIU’s preliminary inquiries, including a review of the video recording of the man’s time in cells, it is apparent that he, and he alone, is responsible for the suicide he attempted and the neck injury that he sustained in the process. While the police clearly had a duty to look after the man while he was in their custody, it is patently clear at this time that they did nothing to transgress the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in the circumstances of this case. On the contrary, their prompt intervention, upon being alerted to the man’s act of self-harm, may well have saved his life.”

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. 

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

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