SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-TCD-157
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Mandate of the SIU
Under the SIU Act, the Director of the SIU must determine based on the evidence gathered in an investigation whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that a criminal offence was committed. If such grounds exist, the Director has the authority to lay a criminal charge against the official. Alternatively, in cases where no reasonable grounds exist, the Director cannot lay charges. Where no charges are laid, a report of the investigation is prepared and released publicly, except in the case of reports dealing with allegations of sexual assault, in which case the SIU Director may consult with the affected person and exercise a discretion to not publicly release the report having regard to the affected person’s privacy interests.
Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019Pursuant to section 34, certain information may not be included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The name of, and any information identifying, a subject official, witness official, civilian witness or affected person.
- Information that may result in the identity of a person who reported that they were sexually assaulted being revealed in connection with the sexual assault.
- Information that, in the opinion of the SIU Director, could lead to a risk of serious harm to a person.
- Information that discloses investigative techniques or procedures.
- Information, the release of which is prohibited or restricted by law.
- Information in which a person’s privacy interest in not having the information published clearly outweighs the public interest in having the information published.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy ActPursuant to section14 (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 that could reasonably be expected to interfere with a law enforcement matter or an investigation undertaken with a view to a law enforcement proceeding.
Pursuant to section 21 (i.e., personal privacy), protected personal information is not included in this report. This information may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- The names of persons, including civilian witnesses, and subject and witness officials;
- 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.
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004Pursuant to this legislation, any information related to the personal health of identifiable individuals is not included.
Other proceedings, processes, and investigations
Information may also have 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.
A person sustains a “serious injury” for purposes of the SIU’s jurisdiction if they: sustain an injury as a result of which they are admitted to hospital; suffer a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib or vertebra; suffer burns to a significant proportion of their body; lose any portion of their body; or, as a result of an injury, experience a loss of vision or hearing.
In addition, a “serious injury” means any other injury sustained by a person that is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature.
This report relates to the SIU’s investigation into the death of a 60-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
On May 18, 2021, TPS were called for a wellness check at a high-rise building in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East. Three officers attended, knocked on the door and spoke to the Complainant’s roommate. The Complainant came to the door and officers asked her to get her identification, which was in her bedroom. Officers stepped inside the door as she went to her bedroom. While officers were waiting, a 911 call was received regarding a person who had jumped from the building.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/18/2021 at 2:55 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/18/2021 at 5:10 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
The area was canvassed for closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
The Forensic Investigator (FI) completed the scene examination, took photographs and prepared apartment diagrams.
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):60-year-old female, deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
The civilian witnesses were interviewed between May 18, 2021, and May 26, 2021.
Subject OfficialsSO Interviewed, and notes received and reviewed
The subject official was interviewed on May 28, 2021.
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on May 21, 2021.
The Scene The Complainant’s body was found lying on the ground covered with a sheet .737 metres north of the north wall of the building near Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East, and 2.813 metres east of a main floor balcony. The Complainant was on her back. Several items of a medical nature were attached to her body.
The door to the Complainant’s unit was unlocked and police officers were maintaining scene security. Inside the apartment, from the entranceway, a long hallway led straight ahead east to the kitchen on the left and the master bedroom at the end of the hallway. The living room and dining room area were to the left in the northeast corner of the apartment.
To the left of the main entrance was a short hallway that led in a north direction. A bathroom was off on the left and a bedroom was at the end of the hall. The door to the bedroom was shut but unlocked.
The bedroom contained a single bed in the northeast corner running along the east wall. A desk, small fridge and an electronic piano were across from the bed along the west wall. The vertical blinds and curtains were drawn shut.
The blinds and curtains were pulled back revealing a large window. At the bottom of the window were small sliding windows. The window on the lower right was open and the screen was cut/ripped and hanging along its left border. The opening of the open window was 41 centimetres by 43 centimetres.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU obtained audio and video records of relevance, as set out below.
On June 9, 2021, the TPS provided communication recordings pertaining to the incident under investigation:
• At about 11:46:49 a.m., CW #3 called police and asked for an interpreter. She was worried about the Complainant, who might be considering suicide. The Complainant had trouble involving her finances and the owner of her place. The Complainant did not speak English at all.
• At about 11:53:05 a.m., a dispatcher broadcast the details and requested that officers attend.
• At about 12:00:25 a.m. - 12:00:28 p.m., WO #1 and WO #2 were dispatched.
• At about 12:03:18 p.m., the SO indicated he would attend as well as he spoke the same language as the Complainant.
• At about 12:15:50 p.m., the SO was at the scene.
• At about 12:24:11 p.m., WO #2 was at the scene.
• At about 12:25:40 p.m., WO #1 was at the scene.
• At about 12:33:31 p.m., CW #2 reported that someone had jumped from the balcony. She thought it was a woman.
• At about 12:34:25 p.m., WO #2 radioed he was on the balcony and saw a woman on the ground. She appeared to still be breathing. He did not know where she jumped from.
• At about 12:54:07 p.m., an officer was performing CPR.
• At about 12:56:19 p.m., an officer indicated that the woman had been pronounced deceased.
On May 27, 2021 at 11:15 a.m., the SIU was provided with building security CCTV footage of relevance to the incident.
• On May 18, 2021, at 12:28:32 p.m. - 12:28:47 p.m., the SO, WO #1 and WO #2 entered the lobby, walked to the right elevator at a normal pace, and entered the elevator.
• At 12:29:17 p.m., the SO, WO #1 and WO #2 exited the elevator at the Complainant’s floor and stopped to consult their notebooks.
• At 12:35:56 p.m., WO #1 and WO #2 entered the left elevator at the Complainant’s floor and put on medical gloves.
• At 12:36:20 p.m. - 12:36:25 p.m., WO #1 and WO #2 exited the left elevator, walked to the main entrance door at a fast pace, and exited the building.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained the following records from the TPS between May 19, 2021, and June 9, 2021:
• Event Details Report (x2);
• Communication recordings;
• General Occurrence;
• Picture of the Complainant's Passport; and
• Notes of the SO and WOs.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
• Toronto Emergency Services Report:
• Complainant identification received from Consulate;
• CCTV footage from building;
• Preliminary Autopsy Findings, dated May 20, 2021, from the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service; and
• Drawings related to the building’s floorplan.
At about 11:46 a.m. of May 18, 2021, CW #3 contacted police to express concern about the Complainant’s well-being. CW #3 reported that the Complainant was having a difficult time with her finances and had mentioned that she was considering suicide. Officers were dispatched to check on the Complainant.
The SO, together with WO #1 and WO #2, arrived at the Complainant’s address - a high-rise building in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue East - and made their way up to the Complainant’s apartment. The officers knocked on the door and were greeted by the Complainant’s roommate – CW #1. Told that the officers were there to speak with the Complainant, CW #1 left the door to beckon the Complainant. The time was about 12:30 p.m.
The Complainant, who had been in her bedroom, went to the front door and spoke with the SO. The officer explained that the police had received a call from one of her friends expressing concern and that they were there to ensure she was okay. The Complainant acknowledged that her life in Canada was unsatisfactory and she was planning to return to her country of origin. WO #2 asked to see the Complainant’s passport and she agreed, re-entering her apartment as the officers waited in the hallway by the door.
Within a couple of minutes of the Complainant’s departure from the door, the officers heard over their radios a call about someone who had jumped from an upper floor at the very same building. Fearing it was the Complainant, the officers entered and searched the apartment. In her bedroom, they discovered an open window with a hole in the screen. Looking out from the window, the officers observed the Complainant’s body on the ground below.
WO #1 and WO #2 rushed to the site of the Complainant’s body and rendered first aid. As soon as the Complainant lost vital signs, WO #2 administered CPR.
Paramedics and fire department personnel arrived on scene and took over the Complainant’s care. Despite their efforts at resuscitation, the Complainant could not be revived. She was declared deceased at 12:51 p.m.
Cause of DeathThe pathologist at autopsy was of the preliminary view that the Complainant’s death was attributable to blunt force injuries.
Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
Section 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm220 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for cases of serious neglect that demonstrates a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is not made out, inter alia, unless the impugned conduct amounts to a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have observed in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether the SO failed in his duty of care toward the Complainant and, if so, whether the SO’s conduct contributed to the Complainant’s demise and was sufficiently egregious as to attract criminal sanction. These questions, I am satisfied, must be answered in the negative.
The SO, WO #1 and WO #2 were lawfully placed throughout their brief interaction with the Complainant. An officer’s foremost duty is the protection and preservation of life. Having been dispatched to check on the welfare of a woman for whom concern of self-harm had been expressed, the officers were duty bound to attend at her address to take such reasonable steps as were available to ensure her well-being.
Once at the Complainant’s address, I am satisfied that the officers comported themselves with due care and regard for the Complainant’s well-being. The SO, who had taken the initiative to respond to the call for service as he could speak the same language as the Complainant, took the lead in talking to the Complainant in her mother language. He explained why they were there and assured the Complainant that she was not in any trouble with the police. The Complainant was soft-spoken and noted some current difficulties in her life, but presented as calm and coherent. As the officers only knew her by a name other than her legal name, the SO asked to see some formal identification to ascertain her legal name. The Complainant agreed to do so, and re-entered the apartment to retrieve her papers. Regrettably, the Complainant used the opportunity to jump through her bedroom window. As soon as the officers heard via their radios that someone had jumped from the address, they quickly entered the apartment and learned of the Complainant’s fate. Seeing that she was still breathing, two of them rushed to her side to provide her care, including CPR. On this record, given the brevity of their interaction and the Complainant’s composure throughout her dealings with the officers, I am unable to reasonably conclude that anything the SO did or failed to do amounted to criminal negligence vis-à-vis the Complainant’s death. More specifically, for example, I am satisfied that there were no grounds under the Mental Health Act to apprehend the Complainant prior to her re-entry into the apartment.
In the result, as I am satisfied that the SO conducted himself lawfully at all times in his dealings with the Complainant, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that he is criminally responsible in any way for her sad death. The file is closed.
Date: September 15, 2021
Electronically approved by
Special Investigations Unit
- 1) The following records contain sensitive personal information and are not being released pursuant to section 34(2) of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019. The material portions of the records are summarized below. [Back to text]
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.