SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCD-221


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Mandate of the SIU

The Special Investigations Unit is a civilian law enforcement agency that investigates incidents involving an official where there has been death, serious injury, the discharge of a firearm at a person or an allegation of sexual assault. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act), officials are defined as police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act. The SIU’s jurisdiction covers more than 50 municipal, regional and provincial police services across Ontario.

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.

Information Restrictions

Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019

Pursuant 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 Act

Pursuant 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, 2004

Pursuant 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.

Mandate Engaged

Pursuant to section 15 of the SIU Act, the SIU may investigate the conduct of officials, be they police officers, special constables of the Niagara Parks Commission or peace officers under the Legislative Assembly Act, that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

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 61-year-old man (the “Complainant”) during an interaction with the police.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On July 15, 2021, at 4:23 p.m., the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) reported that on July 15, 2021, at 3:55 p.m., OPS officers attended a residence on Woodroffe Avenue to arrest a man at the request of the OPS Human Trafficking Unit. The officers knocked on the door and the man opened it. The man asked to get a shirt. The officers then saw the man with a rope and a ladder. The man hung himself and was subsequently pronounced deceased.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 07/15/2021 at 5:08 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/15/2021 at 8:07 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

61-year-old male, deceased

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
CW #2 Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)

Subject Official (SO)

SO Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on July 19, 2021.


The Scene

At 8:07 p.m., July 15, 2021, the SIU Forensic Investigator attended the residence on Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa. The front entrance door appeared to have sustained damage from a forced entry. The rear door leading to the backyard had a broken window. The front and rear entrances to the scene were being guarded by OPS officers.

The interior and exterior were photographed and video recorded.

There were three rope ligatures (nooses) located on the main level. One noose was hanging down from an upper level railing onto the stairs leading to the main level. One noose was hanging from a ceiling bulkhead between the living room and dining room - a step ladder was under that noose. The last noose was on the floor next to a sofa in the living room.

Physical Evidence

There were several notes taped to the wall in the living room where the Complainant was located. The notes appear to be suicide notes and make reference to a person he was accused of sexually assaulting.

The following exhibits were collected from the scene:
• Exhibit No. 1 Ligature – Noose;
• Exhibit No. 2 Ligature – Noose;
• Exhibit No. 3 Ligature – Noose;
• Exhibit No. 4 Various Prescriptions;
• Exhibit No. 5 Driver’s Licence;
• Exhibit No. 6 Gray Plastic Bag; and
• Exhibit No. 7 Drug Card, Health Card and small screwdriver.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Communications Recordings - Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) Report

The following is a summary of the police radio transmissions relevant to this incident, as captured by the CAD.

At about 3:16 p.m., it was noted that the Complainant had indicated he was getting dressed.

At about 3:19 p.m., it was noted that an officer had observed a noose hanging inside the residence with a ladder.

At about 3:20 p.m., it was noted that the officers would forcibly enter the residence.

At about 3:21 p.m., it was noted that the officers were inside the unit.

At about 3:21 p.m., it was noted that the Complainant was unconscious and not breathing, and a request for paramedics was made.

At about 3:22 p.m., it was noted that CPR on the male had begun.

At about 3:31 p.m., it was noted that CPR was ongoing as the officers continued to wait for the arrival of paramedics.

At about 3:33 p.m., it was noted that paramedics were pulling up to the scene.

At about 3:50 p.m., it was noted that the paramedics were en route to the hospital with the patient.

At about 4:14 p.m., it was noted that the Complainant had been pronounced deceased at hospital at 4:13 p.m.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials and documents from OPS between July 16, 2021 and November 10, 2021:
• Communication Recordings;
CAD Report;
• List of Involved Officers;
• Narrative (Investigative Action)-WO #1;
• Narrative (Investigative Action)-WO #2;
• Notes-WO #3;
• Notes-WO #1;
• Notes-WO #2; and
• Summary Sheet.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with officers who entered the Complainant’s residence with the SO and came across the Complainant’s body. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the afternoon of July 15, 2021, the SO and WO #1 attended a residence on Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa. They were there to arrest the Complainant on the strength of a Feeney warrant. The Complainant stood charged at the time with the sexual assault. He had missed multiple court dates in his trial, prompting the officers’ resort to a Feeney warrant on this occasion to compel the Complainant’s attendance in court.

WO #1 entered the housing complex and knocked at the front door of the Complainant’s unit. He received no response. The SO took up a position outside by the rear glass door of the unit. He too knocked on the door and eventually heard from the Complainant through an open window. The Complainant indicated he was inebriated and not inclined to go to court. After several minutes, however, he agreed to accompany the officer, but would need some time to get dressed first.

Several more minutes passed and the officers decided they had to force entry into the home – the SO had just observed a noose and a step ladder inside the unit. WO #1 kicked open the front door, and the SO entered from the rear, breaking the door glass with his baton. They located the Complainant on the sofa of the living room on the second floor. He had a clear plastic bag wrapped around his head secured around his neck with tape. WO #1 ripped the bag off the Complainant. The Complainant appeared to be without vital signs.

Over the course of the next 10 to 15 minutes, until the arrival of paramedics, WO #1 and the SO, together with other officers arriving at the scene, administered CPR.

The Complainant was taken to hospital, and subsequently pronounced deceased.

Notes recovered at the scene suggested the Complainant was experiencing suicidal ideation.

Cause of Death

The pathologist at autopsy was unable to provide a preliminary cause of death, which remains pending at this time.

Relevant Legislation

Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

Section 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm

220 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 Complainant died on July 15, 2021. As OPS officers had been to the Complainant’s home seeking to arrest him just before he lapsed into medical distress, the SIU was notified and initiated an investigation. The SO was identified as the subject official. The investigation is now concluded. On my assessment of the evidence, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO committed a criminal offence in connection with the Complainant’s death.

The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing death contrary to section 220 of the Criminal Code. The offence is reserved for serious cases of neglect that demonstrate 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 exercised in the circumstances. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was a want of care on the part of the SO that caused or contributed to the Complainant’s death and was sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction. In my view, there was not.

The SO and WO #1 were in the execution of their lawful duties when they arrived at the Complainant’s address seeking to take him into custody. There was a Feeney warrant in effect for the Complainant’s arrest, which also authorized forcing entry into his home if that became necessary.

A forced entry did, in fact, become necessary. After several minutes of discussions with the Complainant, after which he agreed to surrender himself, the officers had an emergency situation on their hands. The SO had observed a noose and step ladder inside the unit – clear signs that the Complainant might be trying to hurt himself. Both officers entered the unit as quickly as they could, forcing their way through the front and rear doors, and came upon the Complainant’s body on the second floor. Thereafter, they each acted with dispatch in administering CPR to the Complainant until the paramedics arrived. I am unable to reasonably conclude on this record that either officer acted without due care and regard for the Complainant’s health and well-being. In arriving at this conclusion, I am mindful of the fact that neither officer was possessed of information that might have warranted a more proactive, earlier entry into the unit, such as might have been the case had they known that the Complainant was at risk of harming himself.

In the result, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in his brief engagement with the Complainant. Accordingly, there are no grounds for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.

Date: November 12, 2021

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
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.