SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-OFP-274
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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 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.
- 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 discharge of a firearm by the police at a 19-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On July 18, 2023, at 4:46 p.m., the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) contacted the SIU with the following information.
On July 18, 2023, at 2:56 p.m., the Complainant carjacked a vehicle in the area of Eighth Line and Kestell Boulevard, Oakville. The Complainant fled in the vehicle and was observed southbound on Trafalgar Road. Civilian witnesses later reported the Complainant being involved in a motor vehicle collision at Trafalgar Road and Ceremonial Road, after which he fled on foot.
HRPS officers responded to the area and a Police Service Dog (PSD) track was initiated.
At 3:19 p.m., the Complainant was located in the rear yard of a residence where the PSD contacted him, and an Anti-riot Weapon Enfield (ARWEN) was discharged.
The Complainant was transported to the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) for treatment of a dog bite wound.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 07/18/2023 at 5:20 p.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 07/18/2023 at 6:40 p.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 1
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):19-year-old male; interviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on July 22, 2023.
Subject Officials (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 July 27, 2023, and July 31, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired in the backyard of a residence in the area of McCraney Street East and Trafalgar Road, Oakville.
On July 18, 2023, at 6:40 p.m., the SIU attended the residence, examined the scene, and collected evidence. The residence was a single-family dwelling located in a residential subdivision. The interaction between HRPS officers and the Complainant occurred in the rear fenced yard.
Physical Evidence The physical evidence consisted of:
- The SO’s ARWEN.
- Discharged ARWEN baton rounds.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence Communications Recordings
At 2:55 p.m., multiple 911 calls were received by HRPS Communications Centre reporting a motor vehicle collision at Trafalgar Road and Ceremonial Drive. The driver [now known to be the Complainant] of one of the involved vehicles, a white BMW, had fled the scene.
At 3:08 p.m., a police officer notified dispatch that he had observed the Complainant run into the yard of a residence in the area of McCraney Street East and Trafalgar Road.
At 3:16 p.m., police officers with TRU and PSD searched the address.
At 3:19 p.m., the Complainant was reported to be in custody. A PSD had been deployed, as had an ARWEN.
At 3:23 p.m., an ambulance was requested to treat the Complainant for a PSD bite to his right arm.
Materials Obtained from Police Service The SIU obtained the following records from the HRPS between July 19, 2023, and July 24, 2023:
- Involved officer list and their roles;
- Occurrence Details Report;
- Arrest Report;
- Crown Brief Synopsis;
- Record of computer-assisted dispatch;
- Civilian witness list;
- Communications recordings;
- Duty book notes – WO #1;
- Duty book notes – WO #2;
- Duty book notes – WO #4;
- Training qualifications – the SO;
- Policy Directive – Use of Force;
- Policy Directive – Tactical Rescue Unit;
- Policy Directive – Firearm Discharge; and
- Policy Directive – Arrest and Release of Persons.
In the afternoon of July 18, 2023, officers with the HRPS were on the look-out for the Complainant. The Complainant had reportedly perpetrated a couple of carjackings during which he brandished a handgun. At about 2:55 p.m., 911 calls were received by the police service indicating a male had fled the scene of a motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Trafalgar Road and Ceremonial Drive. It was suspected the male was the Complainant.
TRU officers, including the SO, and a police service dog handler were deployed to a residential address in the area of McCraney Street East and Trafalgar Road. An officer had seen the Complainant run into the backyard at that address.
The officers entered the backyard, and the police service dog quickly located the Complainant hiding underneath a deck and latched onto his right arm. The Complainant emerged from underneath the deck, attempting to release the dog’s grip. He was ordered to get on the ground but remained standing and mobile. The SO fired his ARWEN at the Complainant. The rounds struck the Complainant’s back and brought him to ground.
The Complainant was taken into custody, transported to hospital, and treated for several dog bite puncture wounds.
Section 25(1), Criminal Code -- Protection of Persons Acting Under Authority
(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,
Analysis and Director's Decision
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.
I am satisfied that the Complainant was subject to arrest at the time the SO fired his ARWEN. The officers had information that led them to believe the Complainant had been involved in carjackings earlier that date, had brandished a firearm in the course of those robberies, was subject to a firearms prohibition at the time, and had fled the scene of a motor vehicle collision to seek a place of concealment from police apprehension.
I am also satisfied that the force used by the SO, namely, two discharges from his ARWEN, was legally justified. The Complainant had refused to peacefully surrender and was making his way towards the exit gate of the backyard fence when he was struck and felled by the rounds. Given the information at their disposal suggesting the Complainant might be in possession of a firearm, it made sense in the circumstances to attempt to halt his progress from a safe distance with the use of the ARWEN. If it worked as designed, the Complainant would be temporarily incapacitated, allowing for the officers’ safe approach to take him into custody, without the infliction of serious injury. That is, in fact, what happened.
For the foregoing reasons, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case against the SO. The file is closed.
Date: November 15, 2023
Electronically approved by
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.