SIU Director’s Report - Case # 21-OCI-422


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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 serious injuries sustained by a 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On December 18, 2021, at 12:13 p.m., the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.

The DRPS advised that on December 18, 2021, at around 9:40 a.m., police officers were requested to attend and assist paramedics at a residence near Garden Street and Rossland Road East in Whitby. The Complainant was observed to be demonstrating behaviour which led police to make a Mental Health Act (MHA) apprehension. The Complainant had made it known to police, paramedics, and family members that he had consumed a large quantity of anti-psychotic drugs.

The Complainant was transported by paramedics to Lakeridge Health Oshawa (LHO). Due to combative behaviour on board the ambulance, police handcuffed the Complainant pending arrival at the hospital. Upon arrival at hospital, the Complainant went into cardiac arrest, and was intubated and admitted to hospital in critical condition.

There was no other indication of force being deployed by the involved police officers.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 12/18/2021 at 1:46 p.m.

Date and time SIU responded: 12/18/2021 at 1:50 p.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

33-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on February 7, 2022.

Civilian Witnesses

CW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Interviewed

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between December 19, 2021, and January 5, 2022.

Subject Officials

SO Interviewed, but declined to submit notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

The subject official was interviewed on January 7, 2022.

Witness Officials

WO Interviewed

The witness official was interviewed on January 2, 2022.


The Scene

The scenes were a residence near Garden Street and Rossland Road East in Whitby, and the interior of a Durham Paramedic Services ambulance.

The address was a single-family home with a long driveway leading up to the residence.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

911 Call

The recording was made on December 18, 2021, and was one minute and 22 seconds in duration. In summary:

At 9:37 a.m., CW #2 placed a call to 911 requesting an ambulance. CW #2 reported his brother, the Complainant, had taken 40 pills. The call was cut off and another call was initiated by the 911 call-taker. The 911 call-taker informed the dispatcher that the Complainant had taken 40 anti-psychotic pills, and was suicidal, aggressive, and swearing. The Complainant had a history of mental illness and had no weapons.

Communications Recordings

The recordings were made on December 18, 2021, and were at eight minutes and 51 seconds in duration. In summary:

On December 18, 2021, at 9:42 a.m., the dispatcher requested assistance for a call at a residence near Garden Street and Rossland Road East in Whitby involving a suicidal man [now known to be the Complainant].

At 9:43 a.m., the WO informed the dispatcher he would attend the call.

At 9:43 a.m., the dispatcher informed the WO that the Complainant had taken 30 anti-psychotic pills, was suicidal, and had a history of apprehensions under the MHA. The dispatcher informed the WO that the Complainant had no current charges pending.

The Complainant had a CNI (Criminal Name Index) and was known to be violent. He had multiple prior apprehensions under the MHA.
At 9:46 a.m., the SO requested to be placed on the call and the dispatcher confirmed.

At 9:55 a.m., the WO informed the dispatcher the call was going to be an apprehension.

At 9:57 a.m., the WO informed the dispatcher that the Complainant was being taken to hospital in a rush.

At 9:58 a.m., the SO informed the dispatcher he was travelling in the ambulance with the Complainant.

At 9:58 a.m., the SO informed the dispatcher that the Complainant had been apprehended in November.

At 10:07 a.m., the SO informed the dispatcher he had arrived at LHO.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the DRPS:
  • Communications recordings;
  • Report of the WO;
  • Detailed Call Summary Report;
  • General Occurrence; and
  • Policies regarding Arrest and Warrant Applied for, Police Use of Force, and Persons in Crisis and Attempted Suicide.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
  • Ambulance Call Report-Durham Emergency Medical Services; and
  • Medical Records – LHO.

Incident Narrative

The material events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU, and may be summarized in short order.

In the morning of December 18, 2021, the Complainant consumed an overdose of his prescription medication. He did so with the intention of harming himself. The Complainant confided what he had done to his brother, who contacted 911. Paramedics and police officers were dispatched to the address – a house at a residence near Garden Street and Rossland Road East in Whitby.

Paramedics were the first at the scene, followed closely by the SO and WO, arriving in separate cruisers. The WO escorted the Complainant to the ambulance, and the Complainant placed himself on the stretcher. The Complainant cursed at the attending paramedics and officers, and began to peel off the medical equipment that had been attached to monitor his vital signs. The SO proceeded to handcuff the Complainant’s hands to the front, and then rode with him in the ambulance as it made its way to hospital.

By the time of the ambulance’s arrival at hospital, at about 10:10 a.m., the Complainant’s condition had markedly deteriorated – he was unconscious with an elevated heart rate. The SO removed the handcuffs and the Complainant was transferred into the care of hospital staff.

The Complainant was treated in the hospital ICU. He had suffered a drug overdose.

Relevant Legislation

Section 215, Criminal Code - Failure to Provide Necessaries

215 (1) Every one is under a legal duty

(c) to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person
(i) is unable, by reason of detention, age, illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge, and
(ii) is unable to provide himself with necessaries of life.

(2) Every person commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse to perform that duty, if
(b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.

Section 17, Mental Health Act -- Action by police officer

17 Where a police officer has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a person is acting or has acted in a disorderly manner and has reasonable cause to believe that the person,

(a) has threatened or attempted or is threatening or attempting to cause bodily harm to himself or herself;
(b) has behaved or is behaving violently towards another person or has caused or is causing another person to fear bodily harm from him or her; or
(c) has shown or is showing a lack of competence to care for himself or herself,
and in addition the police officer is of the opinion that the person is apparently suffering from mental disorder of a nature or quality that likely will result in,
(d) serious bodily harm to the person;
(e) serious bodily harm to another person; or
(f) serious physical impairment of the person,

and that it would be dangerous to proceed under section 16, the police officer may take the person in custody to an appropriate place for examination by a physician.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On December 18, 2021, the Complainant fell into acute medical distress while in the custody of the DRPS. The SO, who had arrested the Complainant, was identified as the subject official for purposes of the SIU investigation. 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’ condition.

The offence that arises for consideration is failure to provide the necessaries of life contrary to section 215 of the Criminal Code. As an offence of penal negligence, a simple want of care is insufficient to give rise to liability for the offence. Rather, what is required is negligence amounting to a marked departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised. In the instant case, the issue is whether there was any want of care on the part of the SO, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, in connection with the Complainant’ medical condition. In my view, there was not.

The Complainant had lawfully been apprehended by the SO under section 17 of the Mental Health Act. Given what he knew of the 911 call that had been received by police, detailing the Complainant’s suicidal ideation and his consumption of a large quantity of prescription medication, the SO had reasonable cause to be concerned that the Complainant was of unsound mind and a danger to himself.

As the Complainant’s apprehension was lawful, the SO was entitled to assert control over his movements and to exercise reasonable measures to that effect. The application of the handcuffs to the front of the Complainant, particularly in circumstances in which the Complainant was making it difficult for the paramedics to do their job, was a reasonable measure. It should be noted that the handcuffs were secured without incident, and that there is no evidence to suggest the Complainant’s condition was in any fashion causally connected to his restraint in handcuffs.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in his limited dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges on this case. The file is closed.

Date: April 14, 2022

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.