News Release

SIU Concludes Investigation in Timmins

Case Number: 06-OCD-132

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SIU Investigates Death in Timmins

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TORONTO (8 November, 2006) --- The Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), James Cornish, has concluded that there is no reasonable basis to believe that a Timmins Police Service (TPS) officer committed a criminal offence in relation to the death of 39-year-old James Wesley.

On July 30, 2006, Mr. Wesley was arrested and lodged in a police cell. The following morning, Mr. Wesley could not be awakened and was taken to Timmins District Hospital. He died on August 1st.

Three SIU investigators were assigned to probe the circumstances of Mr. Wesley's death. The investigation revealed that on July 30th, at about 10:31 p.m., a Timmins officer was dispatched to a call regarding an intoxicated man at a rooming house in the area of Birch Street and Sixth Avenue. The officer was sent to assess whether the man, who had been drinking and had reportedly fallen, needed an ambulance.

The officer arrived and found Mr. Wesley intoxicated and lying on the sidewalk. The officer spoke with some witnesses and visually checked Mr. Wesley for injury. When the officer asked Mr. Wesley if he was all right, Mr. Wesley responded that he was.

A witness assisted the officer as they helped Mr. Wesley into the back of the cruiser. The officer arrived at the police station with Mr. Wesley at about 10:41 p.m. A second officer arrived to help Mr. Wesley walk from the cruiser to the cell area. He was lodged in a cell where he fell asleep.

The following morning, an officer entered Mr. Wesley's cell. He was breathing but unresponsive. An ambulance was called. He was brought to Timmins District Hospital where he was found to be suffering from bleeding and bruising to the brain. Due to the extent of his injuries, he was transferred to Sudbury Hospital for neurological assessment. Mr. Wesley returned to the Timmins Hospital, which is where he died on August 1st as a result of head trauma consistent with a fall.

Based on all the available evidence, Director Cornish concluded that there were no reasonable grounds to believe the subject officer committed a criminal offence in connection with Mr. Wesley's death. The Director stated, "The officer was under a duty of care towards Mr. Wesley when he arrived at the scene and took him into custody. The subject officer asked those at the scene if Mr. Wesley was okay, and they responded he was. The officer asked Mr. Wesley if he was fine, and Mr. Wesley stated he was. There was nothing extraordinary about Mr. Wesley's mobility and speech impairments at the scene; they were completely consistent with his severe intoxication. In these circumstances, I am satisfied that the officer's conduct did not run afoul of the criminal standard."

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