SIU Director’s Report - Case # 23-PCI-371
This page contains graphic content that can shock, offend and upset.
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 serious injuries of a 57-year-old man (the “Complainant”).
Notification of the SIU On September 9, 2023, at 8:20 p.m., the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) notified the SIU of an injury to the Complainant.
According to the OPP, on September 1, 2023, at 12:38 a.m., OPP officers responded to a family dispute at a residence in Shelburne, Amaranth Township, which was reported by the Civilian Witness (CW). The CW indicated that the Complainant was fighting with Witness #1. Subject Official (SO) #2 and SO #1 attempted to arrest the Complainant after he assaulted them, and a struggle ensued. On September 9, 2023, at 10:58 a.m., an OPP Mental Health Officer contacted the Complainant, who advised that he had suffered two fractured ribs and a concussion from the arrest on September 1, 2023.
The TeamDate and time team dispatched: 09/11/2023 at 7:38 a.m.
Date and time SIU arrived on scene: 09/11/2023 at 9:44 a.m.
Number of SIU Investigators assigned: 3
Number of SIU Forensic Investigators assigned: 0
Affected Person (aka “Complainant”):57-year-old male; interviewed; medical records obtained and reviewed
The Complainant was interviewed on September 15, 2023.
Civilian WitnessCW Interviewed
The civilian witness was interviewed on September 15, 2023.
Subject Officials SO #1 Declined interview and to provide notes, as is the subject official’s legal right
SO #2 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 between September 15 and 22, 2023.
The Scene The events in question transpired in and around a residence in Shelburne.
Video/Audio/Photographic Evidence 
OPP Event HistoryStarting at about 12:38 a.m., September 1, 2023, the OPP Provincial Communications Centre (PCC) received a telephone call from the CW reporting that Witness #1, who was on drugs, had broken the front door and was not allowed to be there. The CW was hiding in the bathroom and had a knife with her. The PCC directed her to put the knife down.
Upon the arrival of officers at about 12:42 a.m., it was noted that the knife initially held by the CW was situated on a bench by the front door. Witness #1 had left the residence.
Starting at about 12:52 a.m., it was noted that the Complainant had been arrested for assaulting a police officer. He was assessed by Emergency Medical Services at the residence. The search for Witness #1 continued and it was noted that he was not dressed for the outside environment.
Starting at about 1:29 a.m., Witness #1 was said to have been arrested.
Witness #1 and the Complainant were both transported to Headwaters Health Care Centre in separate ambulances for further medical assessment.
Materials Obtained from Police Service Upon request, the SIU received the following materials from the OPP between September 12 and 15, 2023:
- Event History;
- Communications recordings;
- General Report;
- Notes – WO #3;
- Notes – WO #1;
- Notes – WO #2;
- Text message from the Complainant; and
- Digital images of the Complainant’s injuries.
Materials Obtained from Other SourcesThe SIU obtained the following record from other sources:
- The Complainant’s medical records from Headwaters Health Care Centre, received on September 28, 2023.
In the early morning of September 1, 2023, SO #1 and SO #2, in the company of WO #1 and WO #2, arrived on the grounds of a residence in Shelburne. They were there following a call to police from one of the home’s residents – the CW. The CW had contacted police to report a domestic disturbance involving the Complainant and Witness #1. Witness #1, who was subject to a court order preventing his attendance at the home, was having an “episode”. He was out of control and had fought with the Complainant, punching him.
The officers approached the Complainant out front of the house and asked about Witness #1’s whereabouts. Shortly, they observed Witness #1 running towards the tree line of the adjacent property to the north and ran after him. Unable to locate him, the officers returned to the front of the house to speak to the Complainant.
The Complainant’s frustration began to grow. He was miffed at the suggestion that he had mislead the officers about Witness #1’s location and ordered them off the property. When the officers explained that they could not leave because they had a responsibility to ensure Witness #1’s well-being, the Complainant turned to make his way into the house through the front door. Led by SO #2, the officers told him to stop and then followed him inside.
There ensued a physical altercation inside the house in the course of which the Complainant was forced to the ground by SO #2 and handcuffed behind the back.
Following his arrest, the Complainant was transported to hospital and diagnosed with two fractured right-sided ribs and soft tissue swelling.
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.
With respect to the lawfulness of the Complainant’s arrest, I am unable to reasonably conclude the officers were without grounds to take him into custody. There is a version of events proffered in the evidence that the Complainant had ordered the officers off his property and had pushed SO #2 in the chest only after SO #2 had first pushed him before he entered his home and was arrested. That account, however, stands in conflict with the evidence of WO #1 who was present throughout this sequence of events. She says that the Complainant was the aggressor and had pushed SO #2 several times without provocation. According to WO #1, the Complainant had also turned to punch SO #2 in the face as the officers followed him through the threshold of the front door. On the officer’s evidence, certainly, SO #2 was within his rights in entering the residence to arrest the Complainant for assault.
The same is true with respect to the force brought to bear by the subject officials in aid of the Complainant’s arrest, namely, that the evidence falls short of any reasonable conclusion that it was excessive. There is an account in which it is said that SO #2 pushed the Complainant first outside the home before forcing his way into the residence, taking the Complainant to the ground, and punching and kneeing him multiple times to the head and back. That story, which would give grounds for an assault-based charge were it true, is squarely contested again by the evidence of WO #1 and WO #2. The former says that the Complainant pushed SO #2 several times without retaliation outside the house. The latter says that he entered the home after the Complainant and the other officers and took part in his arrest on the ground. He did not see any strikes being delivered by the other officers. The cumulative account of these officers admits that the Complainant was forced to the ground and that some force was brought to bear to secure him in handcuffs, including the use by SO #1 of his baton to pry free one of the Complainant’s arms from under his torso, but that force would appear commensurate with the exigencies of the situation they describe. On this record, it would be unwise and unsafe to rest charges solely on the strength of the incriminating evidence as I am not reasonably satisfied that it is likely to be any closer to the truth than the evidence proffered by the officers.
For the foregoing reasons, there is no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case.
Date: January 5, 2024
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.