SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PCI-169


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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 section 14 (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 of a 30-year-old woman (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On May 5, 2023, at 7:50 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.

According to the OPP, on May 5, 2023, at 2:10 a.m., the OPP was called to a residence in Machar Township where a woman had reportedly stabbed her boyfriend. An OPP officer attended and took physical control of the Complainant to effect an arrest. She resisted and pulled away from the OPP officer, and both she and the OPP officer fell to the ground. The Complainant was eventually handcuffed and taken to the North Bay Regional Health Centre (NBRHC) where she was diagnosed with a fractured sternum.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 05/05/2023 at 8:14 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/05/2023 at 8:55 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

30-year-old female; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed

The Complainant was interviewed on May 5, 2023.

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

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

The civilian witnesses were interviewed between May 5 and 15, 2023.

Subject Official (SO)

SO1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Not interviewed; notes reviewed and interview deemed unnecessary

The witness official was interviewed on May 19, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question occurred on and around the front deck of a residence in Machar Township.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP between May 8 and 15, 2023:
  • List of Civilian Witnesses;
  • Communications recordings;
  • Event Details Reports;
  • Involved Officers Report;
  • Notes – WO #2; and
  • Notes – WO #1.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources on August 8, 2023:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from NBRHC.

Incident Narrative

The evidence collected by the SIU, including interviews with the Complainant, gives rise to the following scenario. As was his legal right, the SO chose not to interview with the SIU or authorize the release of his notes.

In the early morning of May 5, 2023, the SO and other first responders arrived at an address in Machar Township – the residence of CW #3. CW #3 and his partner – the Complainant – had been involved in a quarrel which became physical when the Complainant threatened him with weapons. At one point, she had retrieved a knife and used it to stab CW #3 several times. CW #3 had called the Complainant’s mother for help with the Complainant, and she, in turn, called police. CW #3 left the house just as police and paramedics were arriving. He was subsequently taken to hospital.

From outside the home, the SO called out to the Complainant. The Complainant exited the house onto the front deck. The officer approached the Complainant and placed his hands on her to take her into custody, after which the two went to the ground. The SO handcuffed the Complainant and stood her up. She too was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a fractured sternum and broken ribs.

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

The Complainant was arrested by OPP officers on May 5, 2023, and subsequently diagnosed with serious injuries. In the SIU investigation of the incident that followed, 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 arrest and injuries.

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.

Given what he knew of the 911 call and the attack reportedly perpetrated on CW #3, the SO was within his rights in seeking to arrest the Complainant.

The evidence is discrepant with respect to the immediate events culminating in the Complainant’s arrest on the ground. There are conflicting accounts as to whether immediately prior to the Complainant being handcuffed by the SO she tripped while descending the last stair of the front deck and stumbled to the ground, whether the SO held her hand and pulled her forward off the deck onto the ground, or whether the SO grounded the Complainant when she pulled away from him as he initially tried to handcuff her. On this record, I am unable to reasonably conclude with any confidence that any one scenario is likely to be closer to the truth than the other. As such, I am satisfied that the evidence does not give rise to a reasonable case of excessive force having been brought to bear by the SO.

It remains unclear when precisely the Complainant’s injuries were incurred. There is a distinct possibility raised in the evidence that one or more of them occurred in the physical altercation with CW #3. In any event, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO comported himself other than within the limits of the criminal law in his dealings with the Complainant, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: August 30, 2023

Electronically approved by

Joseph Martino
Special Investigations Unit


  • 1) The information in this section reflects the information received by the SIU at the time of notification and does not necessarily reflect the SIU’s finding of facts following its investigation. [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.