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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation into Brantford Death

Case Number: 09-OCD-010

TORONTO (27 February, 2009) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an officer of the Brantford Police Service (BPS) committed any criminal offence in relation to the death of a 32-year-old Oakville man in Brantford in late January 2009.

Mr. Benjamin Wood has been interacting with an officer of the Brantford Police Service in the early morning hours of Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Mr. Wood ventured out onto the ice surface of the Grand River near the Brantford Casino. A short time after doing so BPS officers saw Mr. Wood going through the ice. Members of the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit located Mr. Wood's body at noon that same day.

A post mortem conducted on Mr. Wood determined that Mr. Wood died of drowning and hypothermia.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.

SIU Director Ian Scott said, "The BPS officer followed a set of shoe prints from a stolen car to the bank of the Grand River. He found Mr. Wood standing near the bank on the ice-covered river and asked him to get off the ice. Mr. Wood approached the officer and a struggle ensued. The officer pulled back from Mr. Wood and Mr. Wood ran back out onto the ice. Other officers responded and pleaded with Mr. Wood to get off the ice. Mr. Wood would not do so, but instead walked and then ran out into the centre of the ice-covered river. He fell through the ice and drowned."

Director Scott concluded, "I cannot find any criminal liability linking the actions of the BPS officer with the unfortunate death of Mr. Wood."

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. 

Frank Phillips, frank.phillips@ontario.ca
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342