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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into York Custody Injury

Case Number: 10-OCI-037

Mississauga (18 May, 2010) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the facts around the March 2010 custody injury of 50-year-old David Orbst. Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe two officers with the York Regional Police Service (YRPS) committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned two investigators and one forensic investigator to probe the circumstances of this incident. The investigation found that the following events took place on March 19:

* On that day, one of the subject officers was on duty in a marked cruiser. He signalled Mr. Orbst to pull over after querying the car's description and licence plate number, and receiving conflicting information. The validation tag had expired, and the vehicle was registered as black when it was in fact light blue.
* Mr. Orbst produced his driver's licence, but did not produce a registration permit or proof of insurance.
* The officer then requested the attendance of the second subject officer. The two officers approached the vehicle for the purpose of investigating whether or not the car was stolen.

Director Scott said, "From this point, there is a significant diversion between the position of Mr. Orbst and that of the two subject officers. There are no other witnesses or recordings to the material part of the interaction between them. However, there is a consensus that Mr. Orbst was briefly arrested for attempting to obstruct the course of justice. I am satisfied that during the arrest he sustained a nondisplaced fracture of the left radial head of his left arm.

"In my view, the subject officers had the lawful authority to stop the vehicle and engage in an investigation of whether or not the car was stolen. Further, they had the authority to briefly detain and/or arrest Mr. Orbst because he was making it difficult for them to investigate whether indeed the car was stolen. With respect to the issue of whether the force was excessive, I cannot sufficiently ascertain the facts to conclude one way or the other. All in all, I cannot determine what probably happened and therefore cannot conclude that the subject officers probably used excessive force in these circumstances."

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