SIU Director’s Report - Case # 22-POD-130
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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 the death of a 58-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIUOn May 19, 2022, at 4:02 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU with the following information.
At 12:02 p.m., the OPP Police Communications Centre in North Bay had received a telephone call from an unknown man indicating he was going to commit suicide and did not want his parents to find his body. The man provided two telephone numbers where he could be located. The OPP ‘pinged’ one cellular telephone number and got a non-descript location near Parry Sound. The OPP followed-up with the telephone numbers and eventually spoke to the man’s father, who provided information about a family cottage location. The OPP went to the address and could not locate the male. Officers then heard a report of a firearm near the water. They went and searched a beach area, locating a man deceased from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 05/19/2022 at 5:29 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/19/2022 at 6:05 p.m..
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 4
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):58-year-old male; deceased
Civilian WitnessesCW Not interviewed (Next-of-kin)
Subject OfficialsSO Declined interview as is the subject official’s legal right; notes received and reviewed
Witness Officials (WO) WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
The witness officials were interviewed between June 22, 2022, and June 25, 2022.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
Police Communications RecordingsThe OPP provided a copy of nine audio files relating to the interaction with the Complainant, a summary of which follows.
At about 12:02 p.m., the Complainant called 911 and asked to provide two telephone numbers for his parents. The call-taker asked why, but the Complainant did not answer and asked that the numbers be taken. He provided a general location near Pointe au Baril and said he was going to kill himself. He told the call-taker not to tell him to stop and that he did not want his parents to find his body, after which he hung-up.
The OPP ‘pinged’ the Complainant’s cellular telephone and found his approximate location.
The OPP called the Complainant’s father, the CW, and advised him of his son’s intentions. The CW provided the OPP with the address of the family cottage. He also advised the SO that his son was having personal issues.
At about 12:41 p.m., WO #1 and WO #2 arrived in the area of the cottage. While the police officers were driving in the area, at 12:47 p.m., they heard a gunshot.
At about 12:55 p.m., the police officers found the Complainant body on the beach. The Complainant was lying in the sand on the beach leaning against a log. He had shot himself in the head.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained and reviewed the following records from the OPP West Parry Sound Detachment between May 20, 2022, and July 4, 2022:
- Supplementary Report – Forensic Identification Services;
- Homicide Sudden Death Report;
- Notes of SO and WOs;
- Occurrence Summary;
- Event Details Report;
- Supplementary Report; and
- OPP communications recordings.
At about noon of May 19, 2022, the Complainant called the OPP to report that he was going to kill himself. He provided phone numbers – one for his family and the other for a business associate – and asked that the police call-taker not try to talk him out of it. The Complainant’s concern was that his family not find his body. When asked, the Complainant refused to divulge where he was and hung-up the phone.
The police pinged the cell phone number that the Complainant had used to call police and learned his approximate location. Calls placed to the Complainant’s father would eventually confirm that the family had a cottage in that area
The SO, WO #1 and WO #2 had been dispatched to check on the Complainant’s well-being within minutes of his call to police. Having learned the address of the cottage, the officers made their way down a long rough driveway towards the premises. The had mistakenly made their way to another cottage in the area and were en route to the correct address when they heard a gunshot. The time was about 12:47 p.m.
With the use of a shotgun, and while on the beach behind the cottage, the Complainant had shot himself in the head. Death would have been immediate.
The officers made their way to the cottage, checked the interior for any persons (not locating anyone but finding a gun case and ammunition), and quickly noticed a body – the Complainant – slumped on his left side on the beach. The gun was between his legs.
Notes were subsequently located inside the cottage making the Complainant’s suicide intentions clear.
Sections 219 and 220, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing death
(a) in doing anything, or(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
(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 serious cases of neglect that demonstrate a wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons. It is predicated, in part, on conduct that 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 question is whether there was any want of care on the part of the police response to the Complainant’s 911 call that contributed to his death. The answer is clearly, no.
The SO, WO #1 and WO #2 were lawfully placed throughout the events in question. A police officer’s foremost obligation is the protection and preservation of life. Having received word that the Complainant was distraught and intent on hurting himself, the officers were duty-bound to do what they reasonably could to prevent harm coming to the Complainant.
I am also satisfied that the officers comported themselves at all times with due care and regard for the Complainant’s well-being. They quickly contacted the numbers provided by the Complainant and learned of his precise location. Thereafter, there is no indication that the officers were less than vigilant in arriving at the address with dispatch and finding the Complainant. They were making their way to his cottage when they heard the shotgun blast that took the Complainant’s life. It is apparent on this record that there was nothing more the officers could have done to prevent the Complainant acting as he did.
In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.
Date: September 16, 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]
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