SIU Director’s Report - Case # 19-OCI-102
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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 39-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn May 8, 2019, at 8:51 a.m., the Guelph Police Service (GPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
The GPS reported that on May 7, 2019, at 9:00 p.m., GPS officers arrested the Complainant during a domestic call. The Complainant was taken to the police station and during the booking was asked to remove her wedding ring. It was unknown at the time if an altercation occurred to cause the injury or how the injury occurred. At 11:52 p.m., the Complainant refused to be taken to the hospital by paramedics. At a later time GPS police officers took her to the Guelph General Hospital. The Complainant was diagnosed with a fractured finger and released back into custody.
The TeamNumber of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Complainant:39-year-old female interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
Witness OfficersWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
Subject OfficersSO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject officer’s legal right.
The SceneThe booking area of the GPS.
Summary of booking video
Materials obtained from Police ServiceUpon request the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials and documents from the GPS:
- Custody Tracking Sheet;
- Disclosure Log-May 17, 2019;
- Disclosure Log-May 9, 2019;
- Dispatch CAD from Details (x3)
- General Occurrence Arrest Report and Property Sheet;
- General Occurrence Arrest Report Breach Probation;
- General Occurrence Arrest Report Disobey Court Officer;
- Incident Report (Synopsis);
- Notes of witness officers;
- Policy - Arrest;
- Policy - Search of Persons;
- Policy - Use of Force;
- Prisoner Property Report;
- Training Records for witness officers and subject officer;
- Booking video;
- GPS photos of Complainant’s left hand; and
- Witness Statement.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority
(a) as a private person,(b) as a peace officer or public officer,(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or(d) by virtue of his office,
Analysis and Director's Decision
Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are restricted in the force they may use to that which is reasonably necessary in the execution of something that they are required or authorized to do at law. There is no question raised on the evidence that the Complainant’s arrest was anything but lawful. Having been subjected to a lawful arrest, the officers were also entitled to search the Complainant before placing her in a cell in the interests of her own safety and the safety of others. Specifically, I accept that the officers had good cause to wish to remove her ring as they believed, reasonably in my view, that it might be used to inflict harm. In this regard, it is important to note that the Complainant was significantly inebriated at the time. When the Complainant demurred, despite being told the ring would be returned to her, the officers were entitled to resort to some force to pursue their purpose. In the circumstances, I am satisfied that the force used by the officers, consisting of controlling her left arm behind her back and wrestling her left hand open while the ring was pulled from her finger, was measured, proportionate and reasonably necessary notwithstanding the injury to the Complainant’s injury. Consequently, there being no grounds to believe the SO, or either of WO #1 and WO #2, used excessive force, there are no reasonable grounds to proceed with charges in this case and the file is closed.
Date: September 13, 2019
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.