News Release

No Charges for Police in Relation to Man Who Suffered Drug Overdose in Belleville Cell

Case Number: 21-OCI-131   

Mississauga, ON (20 August, 2021) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that officers committed a criminal offence in connection with a man who suffered from a drug overdose while in a Belleville Police Service cell last April.

On April 23, 2021, officers from the Belleville Police Service, Kingston Police and the Ontario Provincial Police went to a residence on Geddes Street in Belleville to arrest a 35-year-old man wanted on outstanding warrants. He was arrested without incident. 

While the man was in his cell, he fell into medical distress and officers called paramedics who took him to hospital. The man, who had consumed one gram of crystal methamphetamine before his arrest, was placed in a medically-induced coma for eight days.

Director Martino found that neither officer failed in their duty of care toward the man. He added there was no evidence to suggest the man had consumed drugs while in police custody. The officers also searched the man on two occasions and removed drugs from his possession. In conclusion, Director Martino found no basis for proceeding with criminal charges in this case, and the file has been closed.

Full Director’s Report (with Incident Narrative, Evidence, and Analysis & Director’s Decision): 

The SIU is an independent government agency that investigates the conduct of officials (police officers as well as special constables with the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service) that may have resulted in death, serious injury, sexual assault and/or the discharge of a firearm at a person. All investigations are conducted by SIU investigators who are civilians. Under the Special Investigations Unit Act, the Director of the SIU must

  • consider whether the official has committed a criminal offence in connection with the incident under investigation
  • depending on the evidence, cause a criminal charge to be laid against the official where grounds exist for doing so, or close the file without any charges being laid
  • publicly report the results of its investigations

Lisez ce communiqué en français.

Kristy Denette,
SIU Communications/Service des communications, UES