SIU Reopens and Affirms Halton Investigation
Case Number: 09-OCI-142
Mississauga (30 August, 2011) --- Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has reopened and affirmed its investigation into the custody injuries sustained by Mr. Kyle Davidson on June 20, 2009.
This case was reviewed following receipt last week of the trial judge’s decision in R. v. Davidson. The SIU had conducted an investigation into this matter in the summer of 2009 and closed the case with no charges on August 14, 2009. For the reasons set out below, SIU Director Ian Scott is satisfied there remain no grounds to charge the subject officer.
In R. v. Davidson decided on August 19th, 2011, The Honourable Madam Justice Baldwin of the Ontario Court of Justice acquitted Mr. Davidson of obstructing and assaulting the arresting Ontario Provincial Police officer, Constable Ryan Cox, on the basis that the officer unlawfully arrested him on June 20, 2009. In her reasons, she found beyond a reasonable doubt that Halton Regional Police Constable Erich Paroshy, also involved in the arrest, used excessive force against of Mr. Davidson. Further, she recommended that her reasons be forwarded to the SIU for "review and appropriate action."
Director Scott reviewed the judge’s reasons and the original report submitted by the SIU to the Attorney General on August 14, 2009. The original SIU investigation into this matter focused solely on the actions of Cst Paroshy because he was the officer responsible for causing the fracture of a bone in Mr. Davidson’s elbow. This issue of who caused the injury was not in dispute. Cst Paroshy provided the SIU with his notes in which he admitted causing the fracture during the arrest process.
In affirming his previous decision, Director Scott stated, "The issues for the SIU were, first, did Cst Paroshy have reasonable grounds to assist Cst Cox in his arrest of Mr. Davidson? And, if so, did he use excessive force in effecting the arrest? Of course, if Cst Paroshy did not have reasonable grounds to believe that he was assisting Cst Cox in a lawful arrest, any force would have been excessive, and I would have charged him with an assault related offence. Here, however, Cst Paroshy was not involved in the initial arrest of Mr. Davidson. He came across Cst Cox and two security officers in a struggle with Mr. Davidson on the sidewalk. In my view, Cst Paroshy could reasonably conclude that Cst Cox had the appropriate grounds to arrest Mr. Davidson. To conclude otherwise would mean that anytime an officer arrives to assist another officer during the course of an ongoing arrest, he or she would have to question the first officer about his or her grounds for arrest and decide whether or not that officer had sufficient grounds before rendering assistance. Such an approach does not square with the reality of an ongoing arrest. It may be at a later point, such as in this case, a court finds that the arrest was unlawful. However, that later finding does not detract from a bona fides or good faith conclusion arrived at by an officer who assists in an ongoing arrest.
"Once Cst Paroshy had the lawful authority to assist in the arrest, he also had the authority to use reasonable force to effect that arrest. According to the two security officers who were assisting the officers, as well as a civilian witness who was a friend of Mr. Davidson’s, witnesses who were not called at trial, Mr. Davidson continued to struggle and resist during the handcuffing. It was my opinion then and remains my opinion that the force used by Cst Paroshy while assisting in what he in good faith believed to be a lawful arrest was not excessive given Mr. Davidson’s resistance. As a result, I cannot form the grounds to believe that Cst Paroshy assaulted Mr. Davidson during his arrest and I am closing this file again without laying a charge against the subject officer."
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.
Jasbir Dhillon, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342