SIU Director’s Report - Case # 20-TVI-292
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the Police Services Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether an officer has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation. If, after an investigation, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the officer. Alternatively, in all cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director does not lay criminal charges but files a report with the Attorney General communicating the results of an investigation.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”)Pursuant to section 14 of FIPPA (i.e., law enforcement), certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Confidential investigative techniques and procedures used by law enforcement agencies; and
- Information whose release could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
- Subject Officer name(s);
- Witness Officer name(s);
- Civilian Witness name(s);
- Location information;
- Witness statements and evidence gathered in the course of the investigation provided to the SIU in confidence; and
- Other identifiers which are likely to reveal personal information about individuals involved in the investigation.
Pursuant to PHIPA, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”)
Other proceedings, processes, and investigationsInformation may have also been excluded from this report because its release could undermine the integrity of other proceedings involving the same incident, such as criminal proceedings, coroner’s inquests, other public proceedings and/or other law enforcement investigations.
“Serious injuries” shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. “Serious Injury” shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into a serious injury sustained by a 70-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn November 2, 2020, at 1:05 p.m., the Toronto Police Service (TPS) contacted the SIU and reported that on November 2, 2020, at about 7:58 a.m., the Subject Officer (SO) was operating a marked police vehicle northbound on Parliament Street. While making a left turn to go westbound onto Howard Street, she was involved in a collision with a civilian vehicle that was travelling southbound on Parliament Street. The driver was transported to Toronto Western Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a fractured metacarpal. The SO was injured and went to St. Michael’s Hospital, where she was treated and released. The TPS Traffic Unit investigated the scene prior to learning the extent of the injuries.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Complainant:70-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Not interviewed, but notes received and reviewed
WO #6 Interviewed
WO #7 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right
Forensic Evidence Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) information for the SO’s cruiser was provided to the SIU by TPS. An analysis of the information was conducted by an SIU collision reconstructionist.
The CDR recorded data five seconds prior to the collision. The SO’s cruiser had left steering input two to two-and-a-half seconds prior to the event. The SO’s cruiser’s recorded speed five seconds prior to the collision was 26 km/h. At the time of the collision, it was 13 km/h. Brakes were applied on the SO’s cruiser 0.4 seconds before the collision.
The GPS data points indicated that at 7:52:01 a.m., the SO’s cruiser was 175 metres south of Howard Street and travelling at 19 km/h. At 7:52:12 a.m., the SO’s cruiser was 71 metres south of Howard Street and travelling at 20 km/h. The next GPS data point was at 7:53:39 a.m., showing that the SO’s cruiser was stopped at Parliament Street and Howard Street.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The area was canvassed for Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) and there were no cameras that recorded the collision.
Dash Cam Summary
- CW #1 was stopped on Bloor Street East facing westbound at Parliament Street for a red traffic light;
- The light turned green, and CW #1 turned left and travelled southbound in the curb lane of Parliament Street;
- CW #1 approached Howard Street, which was to the west. A large “Tridel” sign was situated on the northwest corner of Parliament Street and Howard Street;
- A marked TPS cruiser was travelling northbound in the centre lane of Parliament Street, just south of Howard Street. It did not have its emergency lights activated. A TTC bus was in the same lane a distance ahead of the police vehicle;
- A pedestrian was walking northbound in the crosswalk on Howard Street at Parliament Street and was approaching the northwest corner of the intersection;
- CW #1 was at about the halfway point of Howard Street when the cruiser commenced its left turn and entered CW #1 lane;
- As CW #1 approached the southwest corner of the intersection, the cruiser struck the left front corner of CW #1’s vehicle; and
- At the time of the collision, CW #1 was travelling about 54 km/h.
In-Car Camera System (ICCS) Video Recordings
The SO’s cruiser
- 7:51:48 a.m. – The SO’s cruiser travels in the centre lane of Parliament Street. There is light traffic on Parliament Street;
- 7:52:13 a.m. – The SO’s cruiser approaches Howard Street;
- 7:52:17 – A light-coloured SUV [now known to be driven by CW #1] is driving south in the curb lane of Parliament Street. There is a small car travelling south slightly behind the SUV in the centre lane of Parliament Street;
- 7:52:18 a.m. – The SO’s cruiser begins to turn left onto Howard Street;
- 7:52:19 a.m. – The cruiser collides with the SUV in the curb lane of Parliament Street; and
- 7:52:21 a.m. – The SUV comes to rest at the southside of Howard Street.
WO #1’s cruiser
- 12:51:54 p.m. – WO #1’s cruiser is following the SO’s cruiser. The cruisers are travelling north on Parliament Street;
- 12:52:14 p.m. – The SO’s cruiser activates the left turn signal;
- 12:52:17 p.m. – The SO’s cruiser begins to make a left turn from Parliament Street onto Howard Street;
- 12:52:19 p.m. – A grey SUV [now known to be driven be CW #1] is driving south on Parliament Street in the curb lane;
- 12:52:20 p.m. – The SO’s cruiser and the grey SUV collide in the southbound curb lane of Parliament Street. There is a smaller vehicle in the centre lane of Parliament Street slightly behind where the collision occurred that came to a stop; and
- 12:52:32 p.m. – WO #1’s cruiser stops facing west in the southbound lanes of Parliament Street at Howard Street.
Police Communications Recordings
- 7:52:54 a.m. – WO #1 advises of a collision involving a cruiser. An ambulance is requested as an officer has a possible broken wrist but is conscious and breathing. A sergeant is attending the scene at Bloor Street and Parliament Street. There are two occupants in the other vehicle. A second ambulance is requested.
The remainder of the communications were of no evidentiary value.
Materials obtained from Police ServiceThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the TPS:
- Communications - Radio;
- CDR and GPS data from the SO’s cruiser;
- General Occurrence Report;
- Intergraph Computer-assisted Dispatch Event Details;
- ICCS video recordings from the SO’s and WO #1’s cruisers;
- Motor Vehicle Accident Report;
- Reconstruction field notes of WO #3 and two undesignated officers;
- Notes of the witness officers;
- Mobile Data Terminal Records (x2)
- TPS scene photos; and
- TPS Officer List.
Materials obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from other sources:
- Dash camera video from CW #1’s vehicle; and
- The Complainant’s medical records.
At about 7:52 a.m. of November 2, 2020, CW #1 was driving with his wife, the Complainant, as a passenger. They were stopped facing west at a red light on Bloor Street intending to turn left onto Parliament Street. There were two left-turn lanes and their vehicle – a Nissan Rogue – was stopped in the more northern of the two; that is, the one that would lead them into the southbound curb lane of Parliament Street. As the light turned green, CW #1 completed his turn and accelerated southward toward Howard Street, the first east/west street south of Bloor Street.
At the same time, the SO was operating a marked police SUV northbound in the passing lane of the two northbound lanes of Parliament Street. She slowed as she approached Howard Street and activated her left-turn signal intending to turn onto the roadway. As a vehicle in the southbound passing lane of Parliament Street slowed for the officer, the SO started into her turn. She cleared the passing lane but collided with CW #1’s Nissan in the curb lane.
The force of the impact pushed the Nissan onto the southwest corner of the Parliament and Howard Streets intersection. The SO’s cruiser came to rest facing west in the southbound lanes of Parliament Street.
WO #1 had been following the SO in his cruiser. Upon seeing the collision, he brought his vehicle to a stop and exited to check on the well-being of those involved.
TPS personnel and paramedics arrived on scene. Both the SO and the Complainant were taken to hospital. The Complainant was diagnosed with a broken right hand.
Section 320.13, Criminal Code – Dangerous operation causing bodily harm
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is dangerous driving causing bodily harm contrary to section 320.13(2) of the Criminal Code. As an offence of penal negligence, liability for the crime is premised, in part, on conduct that amounts to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances. I am not satisfied on reasonable grounds that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law.
There is little if anything to be critical of the manner in which CW #1 was driving. At the time of the collision, he had just completed his left turn in safety and was travelling at about 54 km/h around Howard Street; the speed limit on Parliament Street in the area was 50 km/h.
In contrast, there is a heavy onus on users of the roadway intending to make turns to refrain from doing so unless it is safe. It is unclear how or why the SO, as appears to be the case, did not see CW #1’s Nissan traveling south in the southbound curb lane. As was her right, the officer declined to interview with the SIU. There is a suggestion in the evidence that the officer’s line of sight may have been obstructed by a southbound vehicle in the passing lane which had slowed to let her turn. While that may be true, it does not absolve the officer. Arguably, the SO ought to have exercised greater caution in circumstances in which she could not be sure if her way was clear.
Notwithstanding what appears to have been the officer’s role in the collision, the law is clear that momentary lapses of judgment or attention of this nature are not enough to establish liability for dangerous driving: R v Roy,  2 SCR 60. There is nothing to indicate that the SO’s apparent indiscretion was anything more than this. For example, the evidence indicates that she was traveling at modest speeds as she travelled north on Parliament Street and had her left-turn signal on as she approached Howard Street. And none of the witnesses to the collision suggested any reckless driving on the part of the officer leading up to the collision. On this record, there is insufficient evidence to reasonably conclude that the SO caused or contributed to the collision in any manner that might attract criminal sanction.
In the result, as I am satisfied that the SO comported herself within the limits of the criminal law, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: January 25, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
The signed English original report is authoritative, and any discrepancy between that report and the French and English online versions should be resolved in favour of the original English report.