SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-PCI-113


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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 serious injuries a 36-year-old woman (the “Complainant”) suffered.

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU

On April 18, 2022, at about 7:11 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On April 18, 2022, at approximately 8:42 a.m., a man [known to be Civilian Witness (CW) #1] and a woman [known to be the Complainant] were involved in a single motor vehicle collision (MVC) in the area of Thorndale Road and Olalondo Road in the Municipality of Thames Centre. Civilian witnesses responded to the collision. CW #1 was observed attempting to stop and enter passing vehicles in an effort to leave the scene. CW #1 directed the witnesses not to contact the police. Against CW #1’s direction, one of the witnesses contacted the police and the police could be heard approaching the scene with sirens activated. It was at this point that CW #1 and the Complainant fled the area on foot. There was no indication that either CW #1 or the Complainant were injured because of the collision.

At 8:58 a.m., two officers [known to be Witness Official (WO) #1 and WO #3] responded to the scene of the collision. A request for a canine unit [known to be WO #2] was made along with an Emergency Response Team (ERT) member [known to be the Subject Official (SO)] to assist with the track. The track was initiated at 9:31 a.m.

At 9:38 a.m., CW #1 and the Complainant were located in the bush area not far from the scene of the collision. Both were arrested for fail to remain and possession of stolen property (vehicle), and were escorted back to the MVC scene location. At that time, CW #1 complained about soreness to a pre-existing arm infection and the Complainant complained of soreness to a pre-existing broken leg.

Both CW #1 and the Complainant were transported to the University Hospital in London by ambulance. CW #1 was examined and released back into police custody. He had no serious injuries. The Complainant was also examined. Although there were no concerns with the pre-existing injury, she was diagnosed with a fractured vertebra and admitted to hospital. The physician could not disclose the age of the injury and would not provide the police with custody pending a bail hearing.

The relationship between CW #1 and the Complainant was unknown; however, there was some indication that the Complainant was a victim of human trafficking.

The scene had been cleared by police.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 04/19/2022 at 7:34 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 04/19/2022 at 8:53 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

36-year-old female; interviewed, medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on April 20, 2022.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW #1 Not interviewed
CW #2 Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on April 22, 2022.

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 Not interviewed; notes received
WO #4 Not interviewed; notes received

The witness officials were interviewed between April 28, 2022, and April 29, 2022.


The Scene

The scene was located in a field near 16364 Thorndale Road, Thorndale.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [1]

Communication Recordings

Police Radio Communications

The recording started on April 18, 2022, at 8:43:36 a.m., and was 30 minutes and 55 seconds long.

At about 8:43:36 a.m., there was a dispatch to officers about a MVC with possible personal injury near Thorndale Road and Prospect Hill Road. There was a single vehicle in the ditch with two persons. One was in the trunk of the car, and both occupants were coherent. A man [known to be CW #1] did not want police to be notified because he had a warrant for his arrest.

Dispatch advised the OPP units responding that CW #1 was bleeding from the face. CW #1 and the Complainant were walking west toward Prospect Hill Road. They were attempting to stop vehicles and get a ride with them.

Officers advised dispatch they were responding.

Dispatch advised responding officers that CW #1 and the Complainant were continuing to attempt to get into vehicles. They were then running into a nearby field.

OPP units set up containment and requested canine units because CW #1 and the Complainant had run into the bush.

It was broadcast that there were reasonable and probable grounds for a fail to remain contrary to the Criminal Code and for a possible warrant.

WO #2 and ERT officers were en route.

WO #2 started a track at the bend in the road.

WO #2 contacted CW #1 and the Complainant. The Complainant asked for paramedics for her broken leg. CW #1 and the Complainant told the police there were two other people in the vehicle who had run off. A witness provided a statement and said there were no other people fleeing.

CW #1 and the Complainant were charged with possession of stolen property.

The police located drugs and drug paraphernalia near where CW #1 and the Complainant were arrested.

The Complainant was transported to University Hospital.

911 Communication Recordings

Caller One
The recording started on April 18, 2022, at 8:39:13 a.m. The recording was five minutes and 57 seconds long. The caller had seen a man [known to be CW #1] in a ditch, westbound on Thorndale Road and Prospect Hill. CW #1 was walking around the car, alone.

Caller Two
The recording started at 8:42:33 a.m. and was 18 minutes and three seconds long. The caller was an off-duty volunteer firefighter. The caller reported a MVC with a black Buick in the ditch. The occupants were involved in suspicious activity near 16363 Thorndale Road. CW #1 was walking around. He told people he had a warrant for his arrest and needed to leave the scene. The Complainant was in the trunk, sleeping. CW #1 and the Complainant were bleeding from the face and walking away from the MVC.

CW #1 and the Complainant stoppled several vehicles and attempted to get into the vehicles to leave the scene, but the caller told the drivers CW #1 had an outstanding arrest. CW #1 and the Complainant ran into the field towards Prospect Hill Road.

Call Three
The recording started at 8:52 a.m. The recording was two minutes and 13 seconds long. The caller reported a black Buick sedan in a ditch near 16364 Thorndale Road.

Call Four
The recording started on April 18, 2022, at 8:56:20 a.m. The recording was one minute and five seconds long. The caller was EMS dispatch. The paramedics were on scene and had seen CW #1 run into the woods across a field. Several OPP units were en route.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU obtained the following records from the OPP Middlesex Detachment (London) between April 26, 2022, and July 20, 2022:
  • Notes- WO #2;
  • Notes- WO #1;
  • Notes- WO #4;
  • Notes- WO #3;
  • Arrest Report;
  • Event History Details;
  • Civilian Witness List;
  • Involved Officers;
  • Communications recordings;
  • General Occurrence; and
  • Scenes of Crime Officer Photos.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from the following other sources:
  • Medical Records – LHSC.

Incident Narrative

The following scenario emerges from the evidence collected by the SIU, including an interview with the Complainant and officers who participated in her arrest. As was his legal right, the SO declined an interview with the SIU or to authorize the release of his notes.

At about 8:40 a.m. of April 18, 2022, the OPP began to receive 911 calls about a motor vehicle collision. A vehicle – a Buick RXL – had crashed into the ditch along Thorndale Road, in the area of 16364 Thorndale Road, Thorndale.

The Complainant was a passenger in the vehicle. She was in the trunk at the time of the crash. The driver of the Buick was CW #1. The vehicle was stolen and there was an outstanding warrant for CW #1’s arrest.

Motorists, among them CW #2, stopped to render assistance. CW #1 wanted a ride to the hospital for him and the Complainant but did not want the police contacted. The police were called anyway.

CW #1 and the Complainant left the crash site and began to make their way, apparently uninjured, westward along the road, eventually entering a woodlot at the southeast corner of Thorndale Road and Prospect Hill Road attempting to evade police apprehension.

Officers responding to the scene organized a search for CW #1 and the Complainant. The search, involving a police dog handler, his dog, and ERT officers, started at about 9:30 a.m. Within minutes, the dog had led the officers to CW #1 and the Complainant’s location. The pair complied with their arrest and were handcuffed.

CW #1 was transported to hospital. He had not suffered any serious injury. The Complainant was also examined at hospital. She was diagnosed with a subacute L2 compression fracture.

Relevant Legislation

Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of persons acting under authority

25 (1) Every one who is required or authorized by law to do anything in the administration or enforcement of the law
(a) as a private person,
(b) as a peace officer or public officer,
(c) in aid of a peace officer or public officer, or
(d) by virtue of his office,
is, if he acts on reasonable grounds, justified in doing what he is required or authorized to do and in using as much force as is necessary for that purpose.

Analysis and Director's Decision

On April 18, 2022, the OPP contacted the SIU to report that a woman they had arrested earlier that day – the Complainant – had been diagnosed at hospital with a serious injury. The SIU initiated an investigation, naming the SO 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 arrest and injury.

Pursuant to section 25(1) of the Criminal Code, police officers are immune from criminal liability for force used in the course of their duties provided such force was reasonably necessary in the execution of an act that they were required or authorized to do by law.

CW #1 and the Complainant had fled the scene of an accident involving a stolen motor vehicle. In the circumstances, they were both subject to arrest for possession of stolen property.

The evidence indicates that little if any force was used by the officers, in particular, the SO, in the Complainant’s arrest. At most, the officer may have temporarily placed a knee on the Complainant’s back while in the process of handcuffing her hands on the ground. There is no indication of the officer having done so gratuitously or in a heavy-handed fashion. On the other hand, there is good reason to believe that the Complainant, in the trunk of the Buick as it travelled on Thorndale Road and then crashed in the ditch, suffered her injury in the collision.

In the result, as I am satisfied that the SO comported himself lawfully throughout his engagement with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges against the officer. The file is closed.

Date: August 15, 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.