News Release

No Reasonable Grounds to Believe Stratford Officer Committed Criminal Offence in Connection with Child’s Death

Case Number: 21-OOD-052   

Other News Releases Related to Case 21-OOD-052

SIU Invokes Jurisdiction in Relation to Death of Baby in Stratford

Mississauga, ON (16 August, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that a Stratford Police Service (SPS) officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the tragic death of an 18-month-old boy in February of 2021.

In the morning of February 16, 2021, first responders were dispatched to an address on Downie Street in Stratford. They arrived to find a child who was vital signs absent. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced deceased. Several weeks earlier, members of the SPS had information raising concerns about the child’s welfare. Because of that information, the question arose whether the police could have intervened to prevent his death in the days before he passed away. The SIU initiated an investigation with that question as the focus.  

Though Director Martino was satisfied that the subject official (SO) fell short in his duty of care towards the child, he concluded that the officer’s conduct did not transgress the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law.   

Full Director’s Report (with Incident Narrative, Evidence, and Analysis & Director’s Decision):

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Kristy Denette,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES