News Release

No Charges Against Hamilton Police Officer in Man’s Death at Devil’s Punchbowl

Case Number: 21-OCD-335   

Mississauga, ON (2 February, 2022) ---
The Director of the Special Investigations Unit, Joseph Martino, has found no reasonable grounds to believe that a Hamilton Police Service officer committed a criminal offence in connection with the death of a 31-year-old man at the Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area in last October.

In the afternoon of October 4, 2021, officers responded to the Devil’s Punchbowl after receiving a 911 call for a man in distress and located the man. As officers began to walk toward him, the man jumped into the gorge. First responders located him below and provided medical attention. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Director Martino found that the subject official and other officers involved comported themselves with due care and regard for the man’s wellbeing. In the officers’ brief interaction with the man, they had no opportunity to prevent the man’s fall. Accordingly, there was 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