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News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Sarnia

Case Number: 11-OCI-076

Mississauga (10 June, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge an officer of the Sarnia Police Service (SPS) with a criminal offence in regards to the injuries sustained by 19-year-old Akino McLeish of London, in May of this year.

The SIU assigned three investigators and one forensic investigator to investigate this occurrence. One officer was designated as a subject officer and ten officers were designated as witness officers. A scale drawing of the scene was completed and four civilian witnesses were interviewed.

The SIU investigation determined that members of the SPS went to an apartment on Forsyth Street in Sarnia to execute a search warrant. The front door of the apartment was breached by a battering ram and the officers went into the apartment. Once inside the officers located six men. Mr. McLeish would not comply with the police commands to put his hands in the air. A physical struggle ensued between Mr. McLeish and the officers in which he sustained a facial fracture and a brain bruise. Mr. McLeish was taken to hospital where he was treated and eventually released.

Director Scott concluded, "In my view, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the subject officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the injuries sustained by Mr. McLeish, during his arrest on May 5, 2011. The subject officer had the lawful authority to search the apartment in question based upon a valid search warrant. I accept his version of events that once inside he was confronted by an individual who would not put his hands in the air, was in possession of a loaded handgun and represented a serious threat to the safety of the officer and his colleagues. On these facts, the subject officer had the authority to use force, a series of strikes to the head, to either protect himself under Code s. 34 or protect others under Code s. 27. Therefore, no criminal liability may attach to the actions of the subject officer 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. 

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