SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PCI-168


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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 33-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On May 5, 2023, at 2:39 a.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contacted the SIU with the following information.

On May 4, 2023, at 5:42 p.m., OPP officers went to a residence in the area of Highway 11 and Coldwater Road, Orillia, as a Civilian Witness (CW) reported the Complainant had choked and assaulted her. The Complainant had already left when OPP officers arrived, but they took the CW to the OPP Orillia Detachment to take a statement. Once completed, the CW was taken back to her residence by OPP officers, who stayed behind to keep an eye on the area for the Complainant. At about 9:18 p.m., the Complainant returned to the residence and the CW flicked her porch light on and off signaling she needed help. Three OPP officers entered her apartment, located the Complainant, and advised him he was under arrest. The Complainant punched an OPP officer but was eventually subdued and taken to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH), where he was found to have a broken nose and right orbital bone fracture.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 05/05/2023 at 6:42 a.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 05/05/2023 at 8:57 a.m.

Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

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

The Complainant was interviewed on May 5, 2023.

Civilian Witness (CW)

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on May 5, 2023.

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 Interviewed

The witness officials were interviewed on May 11, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired in and around a bedroom inside a residence in the area of Highway 11 and Coldwater Road, Orillia.

At the time of notification by the OPP, the scene had not been held.

A SIU forensic investigator was engaged to take photographs of the Complainant, attending Central North Correctional Centre on May 6, 2023, at 1:00 p.m.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [2]

In-car Camera System (ICCS) Footage - WO #1

The SIU received ICCS footage from the OPP on May 12, 2023.

On May 4, 2023, at 9:28 p.m., the Complainant was captured being placed into the back seat of an OPP cruiser. He had a bloody, swollen right eye and bleeding nose. There was no conversation.

911 Call

On May 26, 2023, the OPP provided the 911 call to the SIU.

On May 4, 2023, at 5:37 p.m., the CW called 911 but then hung up. The OPP dispatcher called her back and she advised the Complainant had attacked her by strangling her, and he was being belligerent. She said that he had left and there was no sense in the OPP attending. She also said that he used drugs, although she was not sure if he had used that day. The CW told the OPP dispatcher that the Complainant was not in possession of weapons and that the Complainant had mental health issues. He had been arrested in the past and placed on probation. The CW did not want the Complainant to go to jail, but she did not want him to return home.

Communications Recordings and Computer-assisted Dispatch (CAD) Report

On May 26, 2023, and on June 1, 2023, the OPP provided the communications recordings.

The OPP dispatched advised OPP officers that the Complainant was prohibited from possessing firearms for an assault conviction. He had failed to comply with a probation order. The OPP dispatcher also warned OPP officers that the Complainant had been aggressive with officers in the past.

An OPP officer broadcast that, in previous calls, the Complainant was thought to have left the scene but was hiding in his closet.

WO #1 advised he was taking the CW to the OPP detachment.

WO #1 subsequently returned to the residence and, at 9:18 p.m., broadcast that a light was flashing on the patio and the back door was open. At 9:20 p.m., there was a broadcast indicating that one person was in custody.

At 9:21 p.m., an ambulance was reportedly en route. The SO broadcast that he had to go to OSMH to get checked out.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP Orillia Detachment between May 8, 2023, and June 1, 2023:
  • Arrest Report;
  • Booking photograph of the Complainant;
  • CAD Report;
  • Communications recordings;
  • ICCS footage – WO #1;
  • List of Involved Officers;
  • Involved Persons Report;
  • Occurrence Summary;
  • Notes - WO #3;
  • Notes - WO #2;
  • Notes – WO #1; and
  • Interview of the CW.

Materials Obtained from Other Sources

The SIU obtained the following records from other sources:
  • The Complainant’s medical records from OSMH, received May 8, 2023.

Incident Narrative

The events in question are clear on the evidence collected by the SIU and may briefly be summarized. As was his legal right, the SO did not agree an interview with the SIU or the release of his notes.

In the evening of May 4, 2023, OPP officers drove the CW back to her residence in the area of Highway 11 and Coldwater Road, Orillia. She was coming from the OPP Orillia Detachment where she had provided a statement to police detailing an assault that had been perpetrated on her by the Complainant earlier that day. Concerned for the CW’s welfare, one of the officers – WO #1 – remained in the vicinity in the event the Complainant, who lived at the residence but had left following the assault, returned.

WO #1 watched the Complainant re-enter the ground-floor apartment and radioed for back-up. The SO and WO #2 joined him, and the three entered the residence. The Complainant exited the bedroom and pushed WO #1. The SO intervened to take the Complainant onto the floor in his bedroom. There followed a melee on the ground in which the SO and the Complainant exchanged punches. The Complainant was eventually subdued and handcuffed behind the back.

Following his arrest, the Complainant was taken to hospital from the scene in an ambulance and diagnosed with fractures of the nose and right orbital bone.

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 seriously injured in the course of his arrest by OPP officers on May 4, 2023. One of the officers – the SO – was identified as the subject official in the ensuing SIU investigation of the incident. 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.

The SO and his colleagues were within their rights in seeking the Complainant’s arrest for assault. The CW had spoken to police and detailed a physical altercation involving the Complainant earlier that day.

With respect to the force used by the SO, namely, a takedown followed by multiple punches to the Complainant’s face, I am satisfied it was legally justified. The Complainant had rushed at the officers when first confronted and pushed WO #1. In the circumstances, a takedown seems a legitimate tactic as it would immediately place the officers in a better position to deter any further aggression from the Complainant. Thereafter, when the Complainant decided to punch at the SO, striking him on one or more occasions in the face, the officer was entitled to respond with a commensurate use of force to defend himself. He did so in like manner – delivering several punches of his own – after which the Complainant was handcuffed and the hostilities ended. I am unable to reasonably conclude on this record that the officer’s force was disproportionate to the exigencies of the moment.

In the result, while I accept that the Complainant’s facial injuries were likely caused by the force used by the SO, I am not satisfied that they are attributable to any unlawful conduct on the part of the officer. As such, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case. The file is closed.

Date: September 1, 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]
  • 2) 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.