SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OVI-262


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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 injury of a 59-year-old man (the “Complainant”).

The Investigation

Notification of the SIU [1]

On July 10, 2023, at 11:39 a.m., the Peel Regional Police (PRP) contacted the SIU with the following information.

At approximately 12:50 a.m., July 10, 2023, PRP received a 911 call reporting that a tractor-trailer had pulled up to a house in the Torbram Road and Australia Drive area of Brampton from which people started taking equipment. Police officers were dispatched and were told not to engage in a pursuit. The tractor-trailer fled despite stop sticks [2] being set up. At some point, four individuals fled from the tractor-trailer. All of them were taken to the Brampton Civic Hospital (BCH) where one person was diagnosed with fractured wrist.

The Team

Date and time team dispatched: 07/10/2023 at 2:24 p.m.

Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/11/2023 at 7:36 a.m.

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

Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):

59-year-old male; not interviewed (could not be located)

Civilian Witnesses (CW)

CW Interviewed

The civilian witness was interviewed on July 20, 2023.

Subject Officials (SO)

SO Interviewed; notes received and reviewed

Witness Officials (WO)

WO #1 Interviewed
WO #2 Interviewed
WO #3 Interviewed
WO #4 Interviewed
WO #5 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #6 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #7 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #8 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary
WO #9 Notes reviewed; interview deemed not necessary

The witness officials were interviewed on July 26, 2023, and August 9, 2023.


The Scene

The events in question transpired on Torbram Road in and around the roadway’s intersection with Australia Drive, Brampton.

Torbram Road in the area was an asphalt-paved urban roadway with two marked lanes for northbound traffic and two for southbound traffic, and designated left-turn lanes with concrete medians separating north and southbound traffic. The posted speed limit was 60 km/h. There were clearly marked pedestrian crossovers at all four crossings at the intersection with Australia Drive. The roadway was in good repair with clearly marked lane and traffic markings. The intersection was controlled by traffic control signals. The incident occurred at night with the area well-illuminated by artificial lighting. The weather was dry and clear.

Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence [3]

Body-worn Camera (BWC) Recordings

BWC recordings started at 1:55 a.m. on July 10, 2023, capturing events after the van and trailer overturned on Torbram Road. The CW was captured breaking a van windshield with a crowbar and exiting the vehicle. Multiple police officers immediately deployed CEWs at the CW and took him into custody. A police officer subsequently reported three men were still in the van, with one being unconscious.

Shortly thereafter, two more men exited the van and were arrested.

At 2:06 a.m., a firefighter entered the van and placed a neck brace on the Complainant. He was placed on a board and carried out by firefighters. The Complainant was then tended to by paramedics, placed in an ambulance, and taken to BCH.

Communications Recordings

At 1:49 a.m., July 10, 2023, WO #3 and WO #4 were dispatched to an address on Switchback Trail where it was reported four men wearing masks were stealing construction material from a home.

When additional police officers were dispatched, a sergeant directed responding police officers that if attempts to stop the suspect vehicle failed, there was to be no suspect apprehension pursuit.

WO #3 reported the suspect vehicle was travelling north on Mountainash Road and appeared to be pulling over on Stonecrest Drive and Mountainash Road. At 1:54 a.m., WO #3 reported the vehicle did not stop and was westbound on Countryside Drive. He then reported he was not in pursuit and had not seen any of the vehicle’s occupants.

When the vehicle turned and drove south on Torbram Road, WO #3 reported he had not identified the vehicle’s licence plate.

At 1:55 a.m., the SO reported he had deployed tire deflation devices at Torbram Road and Australia Drive, and that the vehicle had rolled over.

Subsequent transmissions related to scene security and emergency service response.

Materials Obtained from Police Service

The SIU received the following records from PRP between July 11, 2023, and August 24, 2023:
  • List of involved police officers;
  • Person Details Reports for the arrested individuals;
  • Incident Details Report;
  • Incident History;
  • Occurrence Report;
  • BWC recordings;
  • Security video recordings;
  • Communications recordings;
  • Scene photographs;
  • Motor Vehicle Collision Report;
  • Computer-assisted dispatch report;
  • Names, ranks and badge numbers of involved police officers;
  • Names and contact information of arrested individuals;
  • Global Positioning System data from involved cruisers;
  • Mugshot of the Complainant;
  • Suspect Apprehension Pursuit policy; and
  • The SO’s training record.

Incident Narrative

The evidence gathered by the SIU, including an interview with the SO, gives rise to the following scenario.

In the early morning hours of July 10, 2023, PRP officers were dispatched to a ‘theft in progress’ call for service. A citizen had called to report that four men wearing masks were stealing construction material from a home at Switchback Trail. Officers responding to the address reported a vehicle – a van with an attached trailer – fleeing the scene north on Mountainash Road and then west on Countryside Drive.

Travelling north on Torbram Road, the SO heard the police broadcasts of the van’s direction of travel, including its turn onto southbound Torbram Road from Countryside Drive, and decided to deploy a tire deflation device. The officer stopped his cruiser at the south end of the centre median of Torbram Road on the north side of the Australia Drive intersection, exited, and retrieved the device. The van was travelling towards him at speed in the northbound lanes of travel for a period before it veered into the southbound lanes about 50 metres from the intersection. The SO deployed the device across the southbound lanes and removed himself from the roadway. The van travelled over the tire deflation device, lost control, and eventually rolled on its side coming to a stop before the Rockgarden Trail intersection. The time was about 1:55 a.m.

Police officers arriving at the scene of the collision took all of the van’s four occupants into custody. The Complainant was the only one to have suffered serious injury, reportedly, a fractured wrist.

Relevant Legislation

Section 219, Criminal Code -- Criminal negligence causing bodily harm

219 (1) Every one is criminally negligent who
(a) in doing anything, or
(b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,
shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

221 Every person 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 Complainant was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision on July 10, 2023, in Brampton. As the vehicle in which he was a passenger had travelled over a tire deflation device deployed by a PRP officer just before the collision, the SIU was notified of the incident and initiated an investigation. 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 collision and the Complainant’s injury.

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. 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 a want of care on the part of the SO, sufficiently egregious to attract criminal sanction, that caused or contributed to the collision. In my view, there was not.

The SO was in the lawful execution of his duty when he decided to try to stop the van. Given the information that had come over the police radio of the theft of construction material from a home and the flight of the persons suspected of the theft in a van, the officer had cause to take the van’s occupants into custody.

With respect to the manner of the SO’s intervention, namely, the deployment of a tire deflation device, I am satisfied that the officer comported himself with due care and regard for public safety. The van had fled the scene of a reported criminal offence at speed and was travelling southbound at about 100 km/h in the northbound Torbram Road lanes, even after police cruisers that had initially pursued it had disengaged. Clearly, the vehicle constituted a danger on the roadway and there was some imperative in stopping it. The use of a tire deflation device, or a ‘spike stick’, was one such way the van might be stopped. Ideally, the device results in a controlled deflation of tires that are punctured as a vehicle travels over it. It too carries a risk to public safety where, for example, a vehicle swerves to avoid the device or something other than a controlled deceleration results. In the case at hand, it appears the SO weighed the competing risks and made a reasonable decision. The roadway was straight, dry and in good repair (mitigating the dangers of a loss of vehicle control caused by the device) and there was little if any third-party traffic in the area given the time of day.

In the result, as there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the SO transgressed the limits of care prescribed by the criminal law in the deployment of the tire deflation device, there is no basis for proceeding with charges in this case.

Date: November 7, 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) Tire deflation devices. [Back to text]
  • 3) 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.