SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-OCI-064
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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.
- 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 investigationsInformation 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 serious injuries sustained by a 23-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).
On March 4, 2022, at 12:53 p.m., the Brantford Police Service (BPS) notified the SIU of the Complainant’s injury.
Notification of the SIU
According to BPS, at 11:05 a.m., a female, now identified as Civilian Witness (CW) #4, called police requesting a well-being check after the Complainant had made suicidal comments, including words to the effect that she, “Can’t take it anymore.” The BPS had several recent occurrences on file of a similar nature. Two officers, the Subject Official (SO) and Witness Official (WO) #1 were dispatched to CW #4’s residence, a multi-storey apartment building. At 11:19 a.m., the SO and WO #1 attended a neighboring unit, where they communicated with the Complainant. At some point, the officers lost sight of the Complainant until WO #2 arrived on scene and located the Complainant on the ground.
The Complainant had sustained an obvious compound fracture to one of her legs.
The Complainant was conscious and breathing when Emergency Medical Services (EMS) transported her to Hamilton General Hospital (HGH), where she underwent further examination.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 03/04/2022 at 12:53 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 03/04/2022 at 2:50 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):23-year-old female interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on March 25, 2022.
Civilian WitnessesCW #1 Interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed
CW #3 Interviewed
CW #4 Not interviewed—next-of-kin
CW #1, #2 and #3 were interviewed on March 4, 2022.
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview, as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
Witness OfficialsWO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed on March 22, 2022.
The Scene On March 4, 2022, at 2:50 p.m., the SIU arrived on scene. There were two scenes being held by BPS officers: the outside scene where the Complainant was located and the apartment unit.
The apartment building was a multi-storey building. There was an outdoor parking area. Access to the building was controlled via a panel and captured on video.
The area of impact was a small garden of mulch near the front of the building. The garden was bounded by a concrete sidewalk.
The second scene was the apartment and its balcony, which was found to be guarded by a BPS police officer. The apartment was a single bedroom unit with a kitchen, dining and living room areas, and a private bathroom.
A desk located in the dining/living room area facing towards the sliding balcony doors contained a note dated January 17, 2022. The note referenced increased anxiety and depression with suicidal ideations. A cellphone was located on the kitchen table. The bedroom, which appeared cluttered, was accessed from the west wall of the living room. The bedding was pulled back but there was no evidence of a struggle.
The patio and screen doors were partially open. The patio measured 3.787 metres x 1.32 metres. There was a glass front railing measuring 1.065 metres in height. The aluminum handrail on top of the glass railing measured six centimetres in width. The concrete base of the balcony created a small ledge on the front of the balcony measuring 15.5 centimetres from the railing. One side of the balcony was equipped with a small shelving unit; the other side of the balcony was a frosted glass panel separating the balconies between two units.
The distance from the front entrance door to the patio door was measured at 8.346 metres.
The distance from the top of the railing to the ground below measured at 18.577 metres.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence The SIU obtained audio and video records of relevance, as set out below.
BPS Communications RecordingsOn March 14, 2022, the SIU received the relevant communications recordings from the BPS. A summary of the material information therein follows.
On March 4, 2022, at 10:59 a.m., CW #4 called police to report that the Complainant had texted her, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this anymore.” She provided the Complainant’s contact information, including her address.
At 11:10:46 a.m., the SO and WO #1 were dispatched to the apartment unit.
At 11:29 a.m., the SO was no longer able to the hear the Complainant crying and she was not answering the door.
At 11:32 a.m., CW #2 told the SO that the Complainant was outside on her balcony but had returned to her unit.
At 11:33 a.m., WO #2 was dispatched to assist following a request by the SO for an additional officer. The SO advised he would wait for WO #2’s arrival prior to making entry.
At 11:34 a.m., WO #2 advised that the Complainant was located on the ground.
At 11:34 a.m., the SO advised WO #1 to enter the unit.
At 11:35 a.m., EMS was requested.
At 11:37 a.m., WO #2 advised that the Complainant was conscious and breathing and had laboured speech. She was laying in a garden of mulch.
At 11:44 a.m., EMS arrived on scene.
At 11:53 a.m., officers were notified that the SO had attempted to communicate with the Complainant through a closed door. The Complainant was not located in her unit when the SO made entry. No officer witnessed the Complainant’s descent from her balcony.
At 11:59 a.m., the Complainant was en route to HGH with WO #2 following.
Video Footage from the Complainant’s Apartment BuildingOn April 12, 2022, at 10:26 a.m., CW #3 provided the SIU with a USB containing surveillance video. The surveillance video, which was not dated and time-stamped, contained footage from the front door and the vestibule area outside the elevators. Numerous efforts were undertaken to export footage from the elevators and other common areas without success. The Complainant’s descent was not captured on the video.
• The following is a summary of the footage from the camera affixed to the front door, with a view facing the street.
A marked police SUV operated by the SO arrived on scene and parked outside the main entrance roundabout. No emergency lights were activated. The SO exited his police SUV, entered the main entrance doors, and went out of camera view.
Approximately five minutes later, a second police SUV operated by WO #1 arrived on scene and parked approximately two car lengths behind the SO’s police SUV. No emergency lights were activated. WO #1 exited his police SUV, entered the main entrance doors, and went out of camera view.
A female frantically exited the main entrance doors with a cellphone in her hand. She went to a garden, located west of the main entrance and out of camera view. A man wearing a brown jacket, approaching the main entrance doors, went to the garden and out of camera view.
A marked police truck operated by WO #2 arrived on scene and parked in front of the SO’s police SUV. No emergency lights were activated.
CW #3 exited the main entrance door while on his phone, followed by WO #1 and the SO. All went to the garden and out of camera view.
WO #2’s police vehicle was moved from its position and out of camera view. Ten seconds later, an EMS vehicle arrived on scene with emergency lights activated.
A third police SUV operated by another officer arrived on scene with emergency lights activated. He exited his police SUV and attended the garden with an arriving EMS supervisor. WO #1 entered the main entrance doors, followed by the SO and another officer a short time later.
The EMS vehicle departed the scene with emergency lights activated and WO #2 following.
The SO obtained yellow caution tape from his police SUV.
- The following is a summary of the footage from the camera affixed on the floor where the Complainant’s apartment was located, with a view of the elevators and emergency exit.
The SO exited one of two elevators on the floor, entered a door marked, “Common Area,” and went out of camera view. He was alone. WO #1 exited the elevator and entered the same door as the SO. Sometime later, a female exited the elevator and entered the same door as the SO and WO #1.
WO #1 returned to the elevators and waited for an elevator. A short time later, WO #1 and CW #3 arrived on the floor. CW #3 returned to the elevators and was on his phone when he re-entered the elevator.
WO #1 and the SO emerged from the common area and went towards the emergency exit.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU obtained and reviewed the following materials from the BPS:
- Communications recordings;
- Dispatch from Computer-assisted Dispatch Details; and
- Notes of SO and WOs.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the following other sources:
- The Complainant’s medical records - HGH;
- Video footage from apartment building in Brantford; and
- Screenshot of text messages between the Complainant and CW #4.
In the morning of March 4, 2022, police officers were dispatched to an apartment building in Brantford following a call to police by CW #4. CW #4 had expressed concern for the wellbeing of the Complainant following a communication with her earlier that day.
The Complainant had decided to end her life. Hearing knocks on the door by the police, the Complainant climbed over her balcony railing and stood on the outside ledge preparing to jump.
The knocks were from the SO. The officer had been the first to arrive at the scene. Unknown to the SO, the Complainant had already jumped by the time CW #4’s neighbour, CW #2, allowed him into her apartment and onto the balcony she shared with the Complainant, divided by a partition. Not seeing her on the balcony, and believing she had re-entered her apartment, the SO, joined by WO #1, entered the unit to search for the Complainant. Moments later, they received a radio transmission from WO #2 indicating that the Complainant was on the ground outside the building.
WO #2 had also been responding to the building when he noticed the Complainant’s body. He immediately called for paramedics and cared for the Complainant while awaiting their arrival.
The Complainant was transported to hospital in ambulance. She was diagnosed with multiple fractures and other internal injuries.
Section 221, Criminal Code -- Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence221 Every one who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Analysis and Director's Decision
The offence that arises for consideration is criminal negligence causing bodily harm contrary to section 221 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. Conduct short of a marked and substantial departure from the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances will not suffice to give rise to liability for the offence. 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, that contributed to the Complainant’s injuries. In my view, there was not.
The SO was lawfully placed in the period that preceded the Complainant’s fall from her balcony. Having received a call indicating that she was contemplating self-harm, the officer was duty bound to take such reasonable measures as were available to check on the Complainant’s condition and preserve her harmless.
There is no indication in the evidence that the SO comported himself without due care and attention for the Complainant’s safety. Indeed, he was at her door knocking and calling out to ensure she was okay for a matter of minutes when the Complainant decided to jump from the balcony. In the circumstances, there was simply no real opportunity for any intervention on the part of the officer or the police, including the potential deployment of the Mobile Crisis Response Team, to prevent the Complainant from self-harming.
For the foregoing reasons, there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law. Accordingly, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file is closed.
Date: June 30, 2022
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.