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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Mt. Forest

Case Number: 10-PFI-186

Mississauga (19 November, 2010) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) – Mount Forest Detachment, with a criminal offence in regards to the firearm injury of a Mount Forest man in late August of this year.

The SIU assigned six investigators and four forensic investigators to probe the circumstances of this incident.  The SIU designated five officers as witness officers and one officer as a subject officer. Fourteen civilian witnesses were interviewed.

The SIU investigation determined that on August 27, 2010, the OPP were called to Mr. Hieber’s residence in Mount Forest.  Officers attempted to arrest Mr. Hieber, but a scuffle ensued and Mr. Hieber fled into a wooded area.  Attempts were made to locate Mr. Hieber, but they were unsuccessful. Warrants were being prepared for Mr. Hieber’s arrest for a number of criminal offences.

On Tuesday, August 31, 2010, at about 2:10 p.m. the OPP received information regarding Mr. Hieber’s whereabouts in Mount Forest.   The police responded to the area.  They saw Mr. Hieber flee the area through the backyards north of Birmingham Street West.

Mr. Hieber was eventually located in a Birmingham Street home.  Two OPP officers approached him in the basement after receiving permission from the owner to enter the premises. A physical altercation ensued and Mr. Hieber was pepper sprayed, but the spray had little effect.  Mr. Hieber proceeded to pick up a wooden board and attack the officers with it.  The witness officer was struck several times in the back.  The subject officer discharged his firearm twice as Mr. Hieber then advanced upon him with the board; striking Mr. Hieber once in the torso.  Mr. Hieber was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital for treatment.

Director Scott said, “In my view there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the firearms discharge injury caused to the complainant, Mr. Hieber, on August 31, 2010.  The subject officer received information that the complainant, who was wanted, was in the basement laundry room of a home on Birmingham Street West.   As best as can be determined, when the officers attempted to arrest Mr. Hieber he was wholly noncompliant in circumstances where the officers had the lawful authority to arrest him, and use reasonable force when met with resistance.  Mr. Hieber punched the subject officer in the neck area.  He was not deterred by pepper spray.  He made it clear that he was not going to submit to the arrest process, left the laundry room, and grabbed a plywood board measuring 21 1/4” x 18” x 3/8”.  He started using it as a weapon against both officers.  The witness officer left the laundry room and began running toward and up the stairs with Mr. Hieber directly behind him, striking his back with the board. The subject officer, who had his firearm unholstered, backed down the hallway and up the stairs.  Mr. Hieber ran up the stairs and gained ground on the subject officer.  The subject officer discharged his firearm twice and Mr. Hieber was struck once.”  Mr. Hieber sustained permanent injuries as a result of the firearm discharge.

Director Scott concluded, “In my view, the subject officer may rely upon the justification provision of self-defence found in ss. 34(2) of the Criminal Code.  The complainant through his actions and words made it clear that he was prepared to do whatever he had to do to escape from the two officers. He refused to comply with police demands.  He had already struck both officers and continued to swing at the witness officer with the plywood board as he was running away. The subject officer was backing up the stairs and Mr. Hieber advanced on the subject officer as best as can be determined after the first shot was fired.  Although the subject officer was close to escaping from the threat because he was backing out of the house, it is likely that Mr. Hieber was continuing to narrow the gap between himself and the subject officer, and equally as likely that he continued to have the plywood board in his hands.     In sum, given the level of aggression meted out by the complainant toward the subject officer and the witness officer, and the fact that the complainant likely still had a weapon as he was closing in on the subject officer, I am of the view that the subject officer may rely upon the self-defence justification provisions of the Criminal Code.

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