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News Release

SIU Closes Investigation into Toronto Vehicle Death

Case Number: 10-TVD-022

Mississauga (17 May, 2010) --- The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reviewed the circumstances around the February 2010 vehicle death of 26-year-old Mahboba Attayee, and the serious injuries sustained by Fahemah Attayee, Nadia Hassam and Robert Smith. Ian Scott, the Director of the SIU, has concluded there are no reasonable grounds to believe an officer with the Toronto Police Service committed a criminal offence in this case.

The SIU assigned five investigators and three forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident. The investigation found that the following events took place on February 15:

* In the early hours of that day, Mr. Smith was reportedly involved in a break-in involving a Midland Avenue business. Upon leaving the building, he entered a Dodge Caravan and began driving southbound toward Lawrence Avenue East.
* The subject officer was on patrol in a marked cruiser with his partner. They were informed of the break-in and the vehicle description, and saw it as they traveled northbound on Midland Avenue.
* The subject officer turned the cruiser around and activated his emergency equipment. However, Mr. Smith did not stop, and accelerated his vehicle southbound, and then westbound on Lawrence Avenue. He drove at excessive rates of speed.
* The subject officer stayed in contact with dispatch, and engaged in a suspect apprehension pursuit, reaching significant speeds in an effort to match Mr. Smith's vehicle. Traffic on Lawrence Avenue was relatively light due to the time of day.
* Other police officers joined the pursuit. Two were marked cruisers with activated emergency equipment, and one was an unmarked police car equipped with a hand held police red emergency stop light. The passenger officer in the unmarked cruiser activated the light inside the vehicle.
* At the intersection of Lawrence Avenue and Pharmacy Avenue, Mr. Smith drove through a red light and collided with a Honda Civic driven by Mahboba Attayee. She was pronounced dead in hospital, and her four passengers were injured.
* Mr. Smith tried to flee the collision scene on foot but could not due to the serious injuries he sustained in the collision. He was arrested.

Director Scott said, "In my view, the subject officer had the lawful authority to enter into the pursuit pursuant to the 'Suspect Apprehension Pursuit' regulations to the Police Services Act because he had reason to believe a criminal offence had been committed and the van driven by Mr. Smith refused to stop. At that point, Mr. Smith was prepared to engage in very dangerous driving in an attempt to elude the police. The subject officer stayed in contact with his dispatch, activated his emergency equipment, and drove at very high speeds in an attempt to apprehend the vehicle driven by Mr. Smith. While in hindsight, it may have been preferable to have called the pursuit off due to Mr. Smith's reckless driving, I am of the view that the subject officer did at the time attempt to balance the public safety interests with the need to apprehend Mr. Smith. Accordingly, I am of the view that the evidence here falls short of a charge of dangerous driving."

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