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News Release

SIU Concludes Collision Investigation in Fort Erie

Case Number: 11-OVI-180

Mississauga (13 October, 2011) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ian Scott, has concluded that there are no reasonable grounds to charge a Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) officer with a criminal offence in regards to the injuries sustained by 50-year-old cyclist James Rawcliffe of Fort Erie in August of this year.

The SIU assigned four investigators and two forensic investigators to investigate the incident. The scene was examined, photographed and a video recording was made. The area was canvassed for civilian witnesses. The NRPS police vehicle was submitted for a mechanical examination. Pertinent documentation was received from the NRPS.

One officer was designated as a subject officer. He, as is his right, declined to provide a copy of his notes or be interviewed by the SIU. Five officers were designated as witness officers and were interviewed. Three civilian witnesses were identified and interviewed.

The SIU investigation determined that in the early afternoon of August 29th, 2011, the subject officer was driving his marked police NRPS SUV southbound on Point Abino Rd. near Fort Erie. As he was passing by the Friendship Trail, which crosses Point Abino Road, he collided with Mr. Rawcliffe who was cycling across the road. Mr. Rawcliffe sustained serious injuries in the collision and was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital.

Director Scott said, "In my view, there is simply no evidence to support the conclusion that the subject officer drove in a manner that would attract criminal liability. The accident reconstruction report supports the conclusion that the subject officer’s vehicle was travelling below the speed limit before he applied its brakes. The most likely scenario is that Mr. Rawcliffe rode his bicycle through the crossing without stopping and looking. The bicycle trail has clearly marked stop signs as one approaches the crossing of Point Abino Rd. While there are ‘pedestrian warning’ signs along Point Abino Rd, there are no stop signs for motor vehicles at the crossing."

Director Scott concluded, "I have no grounds to believe that the subject officer is in any way responsible for this collision."

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,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES
Telephone/No de téléphone: 416-622-2342 or/ou 1-800-787-8529 extension 2342