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News Release

SIU Concludes London Custody Death Investigation

Case Number: 10-OCD-254

Mississauga (6 May, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge any officers of the London Police Service (LPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the death of a man in custody last November.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to investigate the circumstances of this occurrence. Two officers were designated as subject officers. One subject officer was interviewed by SIU investigators. The other subject officer, as was the officer’s right, declined an interview request. Five officers were designated as witness officers and interviewed by SIU investigators. Seven civilian witnesses were interviewed. The SIU obtained pertinent documentation from the LPS and a scale diagram of the area was completed by SIU forensic investigators.

The SIU investigation determined that on November 25, 2010 at 12:54 a.m. 56-year-old Mario Hamel was arrested by two LPS officers for a provincial offence. Mr. Hamel was taken to the LPS station and lodged in a cell at 1:15 a.m. At 4:09 a.m. Mr. Hamel was found to be unconscious. EMS attended, but Mr. Hamel was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Director Scott said, "One of the subject officers was in charge of the detention area that evening, and responsible for the cadets who were to monitor the cells every twenty minutes. Unfortunately, a cadet failed to check Mr. Hamel’s cell for over an hour. In that time frame, Mr. Hamel used his shirt as a ligature and hanged himself. "

Director Scott concluded, "In my view, the acts and omissions of the two subject officers do not rise to the level of a marked departure from a reasonable level of care required to attract criminal liability under either the fail to provide the necessaries or criminal negligence causing death sections of the Criminal Code. There is no suggestion that the subject officers were aware of Mr. Hamel’s plight and chose to ignore it."

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