News Release

SIU Concludes London Collision Investigation

Case Number: 05-OVI-192

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TORONTO (25 January, 2006) --- James Cornish, the Director of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), has determined that a London Police Service (LPS) officer is not criminally liable in relation to the collision that killed Robert St. Denis.

On December 23, 2005, an LPS officer pursued a Pontiac Buick for a motor vehicle infraction. The pursuit was discontinued shortly before the Buick collided with a Honda Civic, driven by Mr. St. Denis. Mr. St. Denis was critically injured and succumbed to his injuries on January 5, 2006. Michael Archer, was uninjured in the collision and faces numerous charges as a result of the collision.

The SIU investigation focused on the nature and extent of police involvement in the events leading up to the collision. It determined that at about 2:15 a.m., an LPS officer was driving a marked cruiser while on routine patrol on Third Street. When he reached Oxford Street, the officer saw a white Buick traveling west on Oxford at a high rate of speed. The officer followed the Buick onto Second Street to Cheapside Street and onto Highbury Avenue. As he approached Huron Street, the officer activated the cruiser's emergency lighting and notified the police communications centre that he was attempting to stop the car.

The officer continued to follow the Buick to Clarke Road, which is where he terminated the pursuit based on the Buick's erratic driving. About 30 seconds after the officer told the communications centre he had terminated the pursuit, he came upon the collision near Clarke Road and Dundas Street involving the Buick and Mr. St. Denis' s Honda Civic.

Director Cornish stated, "The involved officer did nothing that could reasonably be viewed as causing or contributing to this tragic and senseless collision. The collision occurred while the officer was still following the vehicle containing Mr. Archer but at a distance that was increasing. Unfortunately, Mr. St. Denis was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

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
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