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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Incident in Schreiber OPP Area

Case Number: 09-PVI-014

TORONTO (30 March, 2009) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) Ian Scott has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer committed any criminal offence in relation to an incident in Schreiber in late January 2009.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances surrounding the occurrence.

On January 23, 2009 at 3:00 a.m. an OPP officer stopped a suspected stolen vehicle on Hwy. 17 west of Schreiber. The driver of the vehicle, 50 year old John Perrault of Sault Ste Marie, got out of the vehicle, but before the OPP officer could investigate him further, Mr. Perrault jumped back in the vehicle and fled eastbound on Highway 17. The OPP officer pursued the vehicle for 37 kms at speeds of up to 150 km/h. Mr. Perrault eventually lost control of the vehicle just west of Rainbow Falls Provincial Park. The vehicle left the roadway, entered a ditch and rolled over. Mr. Perrault sustained head injuries and was taken by ambulance to hospital in Terrace Bay. Mr. Perrault was later transferred to hospital in Thunder Bay.

Director Scott said, “The OPP officer had the lawful authority to detain the vehicle’s driver for investigative purposes given his receipt of credible information that the vehicle was stolen. Once Mr. Perrault chose to flee from the officer, I am of the view that the subject officer had the further lawful authority to arrest him and enter into a pursuit for the purposes of apprehending him. Traffic on the road was very light and the pursuit did not needlessly put the safety of others in jeopardy.” Director Scott added, “The officers involved in the pursuit were in the process of deploying a spike belt, but Mr. Perrault lost control of the vehicle before he reached the belt. Given the authority the officer had to pursue Mr. Perrault, along with the prudent method he used to attempt to achieve his objective of apprehending him, I am of the opinion that Mr. Perrault lost control of his vehicle on a curve in the roadway in an attempt to elude the police, and as a result, suffered head injuries. In these circumstances, the subject officer cannot be held criminally liable for the injuries suffered by Mr. Perrault.”

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